Read the full article by the Cape May County Herald
“TRENTON – As controversy rages nationally where toxic Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) have been found in drinking water, New Jersey is the first state to address the water crisis by the adoption of regulations that requires drinking water suppliers to remove a PFAS compound, according to a Sept. 4 release.
A safe drinking water standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), has been established for one of the most toxic perfluorinated compounds (PFCs): perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).
Read the NJDEP rule and comment document here: https://www.state.nj.us/dep/watersupply/g_reg.html
Unregulated at the federal level and found in New Jersey’s drinking water at concentrations higher than other states, particularly in the Delaware River Watershed in and around Gloucester County, it became clear that the state had to step out on its own to protect public health and the environment here by establishing a mandatory safe drinking water standard or MCL.
‘New Jersey has the responsibility to assure that the water people drink is safe and won’t make them or their families sick. Today the state has met the challenge to protect people from exposure to PFNA, one of the most toxic perfluorinated compounds known. This historic moment has been a long time coming and at times looked impossible but communities persevered in their demand for clean water and New Jersey provided the deep scientific research and analysis needed, culminating in this essential rulemaking that mandates a safe drinking water standard, the first in the nation for any PFAS,’ stated Tracy Carluccio, deputy director, Delaware Riverkeeper Network…
NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has also adopted a maximum contaminant level (MCL), or safe drinking water standard, for 1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), another extremely dangerous unregulated chemical found at very high concentrations in some New Jersey drinking water.
Both MCLs were recommended by New Jersey’s Drinking Water Quality Institute, the body charged with developing MCL recommendations under the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act.
The Institute is nationally recognized for its scientific expertise and reliable analysis. Both PFNA and 1,2,3,-TCP pose significant health threats when ingested and can be removed from drinking water with currently available technology.
Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) recommended a MCL for PFNA that is stricter than the 13 ppt adopted today, based on an independent toxicological analysis DRN commissioned.
DRN advocated for a MCL of 3 to 5 ppt to protect the fetus and young children, who can suffer developmental damage that lasts a lifetime or develop disease later in life as a result of the early exposure.
DRN advises water suppliers to voluntarily provide treatment for PFNA if any amount is detected to ensure truly safe drinking water for their customers…
Other changes for which DRN advocated include immediate monitoring for PFNA in all water systems rather than the phase-in that was adopted, and considers a slow phase-in to be an unjust burden on communities that may unknowingly have contaminated water but are not going to be immediately sampled on a regular basis. Also, DRN wants PFNA to be added to the contaminants that must be tested for and removed under the NJ Private Well Testing Act because people with private wells could be drinking water contaminated with PFNA but they don’t know it.
DRN contends that all New Jerseyans need equal protection, whether they are private well users or are on public water systems and recommends that all water suppliers, no matter whether they are required immediately to sample for PFNA or not, begin immediately to test for the chemical and that private well users pro-actively sample their wells for the compound if local contamination is suspected.
PFNA is a long-carbon chain compound, consisting of nine carbons, making it very durable.
It is a perfluorinated compound (PFC), and like other PFCs, it doesn’t break down or biodegrade, making it a permanent threat in the environment.
That’s why it is still in the ground and surface water around where it was discharged, even if it is no longer being used in manufacturing. It is critical that the MCL is adopted because there is no way to avoid exposure to PFNA unless it is removed by treatment from drinking water, which is the primary source of exposure for people.
PFNA is highly toxic at very low doses, more toxic than most other PFCs or PFAS compounds. It builds up in the blood from very small concentrations in drinking water and is difficult for the body to excrete. PFNA remains in a person’s body for many years after exposure. There it can have devastating health effects, including liver damage, metabolic and immune system function problems, increased cholesterol, and developmental defects in fetuses and young children.”