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Some city water companies have bad news for customers due to 'permanent chemicals'

City water companies like Mobile, AL, Evanston, IL, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC and Thorton, CO are all scrambling to explain that they are still selling a safe product.

This comes after the US Environmental Protection Agency moved the target position for acceptable levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water “on an advisory basis” kind of demand.

The change is striking in that one type of PFAS has been reduced from 70 ppt to 0.004 parts per trillion. Another compound dropped from 2.0 ppt to 0.02 ppt. The reduction means some water companies need to do some explaining for their customers.

EPA announced these actions in June at the 3rd National PFAS Conference in Wilmington, North Carolina.

EPA’s latest action to provide clean water is the Drinking Water Health Recommendations for Perfluorinated and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). EPA is also inviting states and territories to apply for $1 billion — the first of a $5 billion bipartisan infrastructure law grant — to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, specifically in small or disadvantaged communities.

Next, EPA will publish the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations in the fall of 2022.

“People on the front lines of PFAS pollution have been suffering for far too long. That’s why EPA is taking aggressive action as part of a whole-of-government effort to prevent these chemicals from entering the environment and help protect the families concerned. Avoid this common challenge,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan

. PFAS is the concentration of “permanent chemicals” associated with cancer and birth defects. Cities like Thornton, Colorado, had to explain to customers that their water efficiency was more than 1,000 times higher than new federally recommended levels.

Neither the EPA nor the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment recommends that Thornton water users switch to bottled water. Nonetheless, they believe now may be the right time to invest in home treatment and filtration systems.

Previously, Thornton was known for shifting water rights from farmland to suburban development. It still meets federal and state primary drinking water standards. Thorton, which has a population of about 140,000, must notify the public that it exceeds the new “permanent chemical” limit.

In the announcement, Thorton said: “We recognize that average levels of PFOA and PFOS in our surveillance are higher than the EPA’s new health advisory levels. This is why research is a priority. Our Scientists are actively coordinating with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment to:

  • Determine the levels of PFAS in our waters through additional monitoring and evaluation
    • Investigate established and emerging treatment options
    • As EPA develops and finalizes its
    • Future drinking water standards
    • Prevent additional contamination of our source water

    “Public health and quality drinking water are our top priorities. The lower the level, the lower the risk. We will continue to update you with our findings and strategies as we learn more. ”

    EPA’s move to near zero levels shows that scientific research shows that “permanent chemicals” are more toxic than previously thought. PFAS compounds are found in products such as carpets, cookware, cosmetics, fabrics and food packaging .

    PFAS is a large class of compounds, as many as 5,000 chemicals. EPA focuses on a few PFAS compounds, namely perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), which are In very low concentrations, may have health effects.

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