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Analies Dyjak, M.A. | Head of Policy and Perspectives
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday, October 18, that the agency will prioritize a comprehensive national strategy to confront PFAS pollution. The Biden-Harris administration campaigned on setting limits in tap water for PFAS and ensuring other actionable protection measures for public health. The PFAS “roadmap” also includes a summary of recent proposals and recommendations from EPA and Congress.
What Does EPA's PFAS Roadmap Contain?The roadmap consists of plans for both rulemaking and monitoring guidelines, but does not have any enforceable criteria. This EPA publication is simply a strategic plan for implementation, not a final rule. The seven actions are as follows:
Timeline for nationwide enforceable drinking water limits for PFAS in tap water under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Designating PFAS as a “hazardous substance” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. This designation will help hold polluters financially responsible for contaminating source water.
A timeline for Effluent Guideline Limitations for nine different industrial categories.
An assessment of shortcomings of the Toxic Substances Control Act and its ability to protect public health.
An increase in monitoring, data collection, and research.
A final toxicity assessment for GenX.
Technical foundation for PFAS air emissions under the Clean Air Act.
Too Little Too Late?
Hydroviv has been covering PFAS in drinking water since our company began in 2016. Since then, virtually no action has been taken by the EPA or Congress regarding this category of chemicals that is known to cause cancer. The press release for this latest roadmap even stated that the EPA has known about the toxic nature of PFAS chemicals for over 20 years. The impacts of PFAS have now extended across multiple generations, when in all likelihood, this could have been avoided.Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
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Analies Dyjak, M.A. | Head of Policy
The State of Massachusetts recently implemented new testing requirements and water quality standards for 6 different PFAS variations. PFAS (Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) are a federally unregulated contaminant known to cause adverse health effects, including cancer. These new requirements have forced municipalities to take a closer look at the safety of their drinking water. This article will address what PFAS compounds are, the "safe" levels in Massachusetts drinking water, and water filtration brands that actually remove them.
New PFAS Law in Massachusetts
Massachusetts became one of the first states to adopt drinking water standards for PFAS chemicals in January, 2021. Prior to January of this year, municipal water suppliers throughout Massachusetts were not required to test for PFAS compounds, nor remove them. It's important to point out that PFAS are not a new issue in Massachusetts tap water, and that they have been used in various types of manufacturing since the 1950's. The only major change is that now municipalities are required to test for it.
In October, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection set an enforceable standard of 20 parts per trillion for the sum of six PFAS compounds in drinking water. The six compounds, called PFAS6, are: PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA, and PFDA. This regulation means that if a water sample exceeds 20 parts per trillion for all six compounds, that the municipal provider is in violation of the state law.
What Are Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances?
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a category of harmful compounds that can be found in drinking water sources across the country. PFAS can take hundreds of years to degrade in the environment which is why you may see them referred to as ‘forever chemicals.’ PFAS are not currently regulated at the federal level, but some states have created regulations or monitoring criteria, including Massachusetts. They are known to increase the risk of cancer, increase cholesterol, increase the risk of miscarriage by 80-120%, and several other negative health outcomes. According to the National Institute of Health, over 4,700 different PFAS variations have been used in some type of manufacturing since the 1950’s. PFAS enter drinking water when they are disposed of in groundwater, surface water, or manufacturing retention ponds.
Is 20 ppt Safe?
There’s a bit of uncertainty around the “safe level” of exposure to PFAS compounds. There are only a handful of studies that assess associated health impacts, and most agree that more research is necessary to make a determination. In 2016, EPA set a non-enforceable Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion for combined PFOA and PFOS. More recent data suggests that this level is far to high to provide meaningful protection against a range of negative health impacts. A more recent study found that a “safe level” or PFAS could be as low as 0.1 parts per trillion. Although the Massachusetts PFAS standard is on the lower end of state limits, our team would rather see even less PFAS allowed in municipal tap water.
Not All Water Filters Remove PFAS
If you live in Massachusetts and you’re looking for a solution, it’s important to understand that not all water filters are able to remove PFAS chemicals. Duke University completed a study in 2020 that tested various filtration brands and their ability to remove PFAS from drinking water. The results found that popular brands including Brita and Pur did not do a good job of removing PFAS compounds. Refrigerator filters tested by the Duke research team, including; Samsung, Whirlpool, and GE, also failed to remove PFAS. The full results of this study can be found here. Hydroviv filters are both NSF certified and third-party tested to remove PFAS chemicals. To request our full testing and removal data, please email email@example.com.Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
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