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US Imposes First-Ever Limits on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Tap Water

US Imposes First-Ever Limits on 'Forever Chemicals' in Tap Water
PFAS are dubbed "forever chemicals" because they remain widespread in the environment due ... PFAS are dubbed "forever chemicals" because they remain widespread in the environment due to lack of degradation The US has imposed its first nationwide limits on several harmful chemicals fou
US Imposes First-Ever Limits on 'Forever Chemicals' in Tap Water
PFAS are dubbed "forever chemicals" because they remain widespread in the environment due ... PFAS are dubbed "forever chemicals" because they remain widespread in the environment due to lack of degradation The US has imposed its first nationwide limits on several harmful chemicals fou

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US Imposes First-Ever Limits on ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Tap Water

The US has implemented its first nationwide restrictions on several harmful chemicals commonly found in tap water across the country. This move comes after research indicated that millions of Americans likely consume water contaminated with PFAS chemicals, which have been linked to various health issues, including cancer.

Officials finalized a rule on Wednesday that mandates local governments to eliminate six versions of these chemicals from water systems. To support this effort, the government has allocated an additional $1 billion to help cover the associated costs.

In a statement, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphasized that the new rule would yield long-term health benefits for Americans. EPA administrator Michael Regan stated, “Drinking water contaminated with PFAS has plagued communities across this country for too long. Today, I am proud to finalize this critical piece of our roadmap, and in doing so, save thousands of lives and help ensure our children grow up healthier.”

Under the new regulations, local municipalities have three years to monitor their water systems for the presence of these chemicals. If harmful levels of PFAS are detected, governments have five years to reduce the concentration of these substances in the water supply.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, comprise a class of thousands of chemicals known for their water-, oil-, and grease-repelling properties. They are used in numerous everyday products, from dental floss to cookware to firefighting foams. Due to their persistence in the environment, PFAS chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals,” as they do not readily degrade.

While common household filters like those produced by Brita are not effective at removing PFAS from drinking water, more expensive systems like reverse osmosis filters, installed under the sink, have been shown to reduce PFAS levels.

The EPA has determined that virtually no level of exposure to PFAS is safe. These chemicals have been associated with various health issues, including cancer, reproductive problems, weakened immune function, thyroid disease, and asthma.

Communities with inadequate drinking water systems are expected to benefit the most from the new restrictions. However, they may face challenges in funding the necessary treatment systems, which can be costly, particularly for smaller towns. The Biden administration has highlighted the availability of funds through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, including $9 billion specifically earmarked for addressing PFAS and an additional $12 billion for general drinking water improvements.


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