EPA Issues Contaminant Limit for ‘Forever Chemicals’ (PFAS): Finally Clearing the Way for their Regulation in Drinking Water

EPA just established a maximum limit (Maximum Contaminant Level) for PFAS (aka perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they the chemicals don’t degrade over time in the environment as many other chemicals do, like gasoline.

The main sources of PFAS’ in the environment are:

  • Military bases and airports, mostly from training and testing exercises using firefighting foam;
  • Petroleum stations and terminals, chemical manufacturers, commercial printers, plastics and resin manufacturing sites; and
  • Paint and coating manufacturers, semiconductor manufacturers, makers of metal products and electrical components, and electroplating and polishing.

The new MCL for the chemicals is 4 parts per trillion, which is the lowest level that can be detected using current laboratory technology. EPA set the limit using the usual process for setting MCLs which considers a chemical’s ability to cause adverse health effects and an extrapolated assessment of a chemical’s ability to cause cancer.

PFAS will now be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act – which in Arizona is overseen by ADEQ (although some counties act under an agreement with ADEQ). Water systems with more than 15 service connections will now have to test for the chemical – and if present either treat to remove it, dilute it, or not use the water (private wells with 14 or fewer connections are off the regulatory grid).

See: EPA sets official limit for six ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water
Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in My Healthy Arizona