Washington, D.C. — Forever chemicals, also known as PFAS, have been used for nearly 70 years and can be found almost everywhere in the environment—the air, water, soil, and even our blood. A new report from the Center for American Progress calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize the Biden administration’s proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation and to support states and communities in implementation through expanded funding, which would protect Americans against six types of forever chemicals in drinking water.
From coast to coast, all 50 states have PFAS-contaminated sites, affecting approximately 200 million residents. The buildup of forever chemicals in people can have serious health implications, and low-income communities and communities of color often face disproportionately high levels of exposure and consumption. This CAP report examines how the Biden administration is not only proposing federal PFAS standards for the first time but also investing in upgrading drinking water systems through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In enforcing these new regulations, public water systems will be required to monitor PFAS, notify the public of their levels, and reduce levels if they surpass the new standards, keeping communities safer and better protected against these harmful chemicals.
“We applaud states that have led the way and set the stage for federal regulation of dangerous chemicals in drinking water,” said Jill Rosenthal, director of Public Health Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “Given what we already know about the danger forever chemicals present to public health, a piecemeal approach is insufficient to safeguard public health when it comes to PFAS. The Biden administration’s bold federal action is needed to protect people from these harmful forever chemicals so that no matter where you live, you have access to clean drinking water.”
“Requiring states to limit forever chemicals and providing them with the means to do so is a welcome action, particularly for communities overburdened by forever chemicals and less financially equipped to remove them,” said Sarah Millender, research assistant for Health Policy and co-author of the report. “This will better protect U.S. communities from forever chemicals now and support building better water systems for the future.”
Read the report: “The Biden Administration’s Move To Regulate Forever Chemicals in Water Is a Win for Public Health and Infrastructure” by Sarah Millender and Jill Rosenthal
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