EPA Sets National Limits On 'Forever Chemicals' In Drinking Water

By Bill Galluccio

April 11, 2024

Safe Drinking Tap Water
Photo: vitapix / E+ / Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the first-ever limits on PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals," in drinking water. The new rules require public water systems to monitor the levels of six perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances.

The chemicals are found in numerous items, including nonstick cookware, water-repellant products, packaging material, and firefighting foam. They break down extremely slowly and are almost impossible to destroy. As the products containing them degrade, the chemicals are released into the environment and can spread across the globe through the air, water, and soil.

The chemicals are linked to a host of health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, and reproductive issues.

Under the new rules, levels of PFOA and PFOS in public drinking water can't exceed four parts per trillion. The regulations also limit PFNA, PFHxS, and GenX chemical levels to 10 parts per trillion.

"One hundred million people will be healthier and safer because of this action," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said when announcing the rules.

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