Read the full article by Zoë Read (WHYY)
“Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board on Thursday voted 15-3 in favor of a Department of Environmental Protection proposal to establish limits on two of the toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS. Often referred to as ‘forever chemicals,’ because they don’t naturally break down in the environment, PFAS compounds are linked to serious health issues including some cancers.
Currently, there are no federal maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFAS, shorthand for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, in public drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency does set a federal health advisory level for PFAS, but unlike MCLs, the advisory is non-enforceable. In June, the agency reduced the advisory level from 70 parts per trillion to almost zero parts per trillion, after announcing the compounds are more dangerous than previously thought.
The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it is designating some toxic industrial compounds used in cookware, carpets and firefighting foams as hazardous substances.
Pennsylvania’s proposal would restrict the PFAS compounds PFOA and PFOS to 14 parts per trillion and 18 parts per trillion respectively. That would require water companies and municipalities to regularly monitor water for PFAS, and treat the water if it exceeds the MCLs.
The proposal came after the DEP asked Drexel University to evaluate PFAS contamination in the state. The study concluded the EPA health advisory for PFAS was no longer protective of public health.
‘It was critically needed by people who are currently drinking water contaminated with these highly toxic compounds,’ said the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s Tracy Carluccio. ‘Every day that people are drinking water that contains PFAS, it increases the levels of these toxins in their blood, and that increases their risk of developing a disease linked to PFOA and PFOS.'” …