Limiting forever chemicals in drinking water
On March 14th 2023 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposal to establish legally enforceable levels for six types of ‘forever chemicals’ known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). It is expected to prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious illnesses attributable to PFAS.
The rule would require public water systems to monitor PFAS levels, notify the public of these and reduce them if exceeding the proposed standards. Developed over several years and grounded in the authority that the EPA has from US Congress, through the Safe Drinking Water Act, the goal is to issue a final PFAS drinking water standard by the end of 2023 or early 2024. This will result in a standard to which all water systems in the US must adhere.
Sarah Doll, national director for Safer States, an NGO fighting pollution, speaks to Naka Kondo, the lead editor of Back to Blue about the significance of the EPA proposal to limit PFAS in US drinking water - and what needs to happen next.
Back to Blue is an initiative of Economist Impact and The Nippon Foundation.
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