EPA to regulate PFOA, PFOS in drinking water

Feb. 21, 2020
PFAS Action Plan to help communities address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) nationwide.

WASHINGTON, DC, FEB 21, 2020 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would regulate “forever chemicals” that have been leaching into the water supply in cities across the country. By proposing regulatory determinations for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water  mark a key milestone in EPA’s extensive efforts under the agency’s PFAS Action Plan.

“The U.S. leads the world in providing access to safe drinking water for its citizens, thanks in part to EPA’s implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under President Trump’s leadership, EPA is following through on its commitment in the Action Plan to evaluate PFOA and PFOS under this Act.”

EPA currently recommends water contain no more than 70 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS, but it’s not mandatory, and many health advocates argue that number is too high, The Hill reports. In the absence of EPA action, a number of states have passed laws requiring lower levels of PFAS for drinking water.

EPA’s decision to regulate PFAS kicks off a two-year period for the agency to determine what the new mandatory maximum contamination level should be. Once that is formally proposed, the agency has another 18 months to finalize its drinking water requirement.

Data collected by the Environmental Working Group this year showed PFAS contamination has been found in every U.S. state but Hawaii.