The Environmental Protection Agency places certain “forever chemicals” limits as low as possible

Photo of a building with marble columns.
Zoom in / Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, and announced by the Environmental Protection Agency It has begun the process that will see drinking water regulations place severe restrictions on the levels of several members of the PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemical family. PFAS is widely used but has been associated with a wide range of health issues; Its chemical stability has also earned it the term “Chemicals Forever”. The agency is currently seeking public comment on which rules would mean that any detectable levels of two chemicals would be too much.

PFAS is a large group of chemicals that are used in a wide variety of products, including nonstick cookware, firefighting foam, and waterproof clothing. They are mainly useful because of their hydrophobic and hydrophobic nature. This nature also tends to prevent them from participating in chemical processes that might otherwise degrade them, so contamination problems tend to remain long after any use of PFAS. Which is bad, since they seem to have a lot of negative effects on health—the EPA lists risks for cancer, immune impairment, hormonal signaling changes, liver damage, and reproductive problems.

Back in 2021, the Biden administration announced this Start a research and organizational program Focused on PFAS and issued Preliminary guidance on acceptable levels last year. Today’s announcement is the beginning of a formal rule-making process that will see the development of legally binding boundaries. This process includes the EPA Publication of proposed rules To allow the public and interested parties the opportunity to provide feedback. Once these comments have been addressed, the official rules will be posted.

The most surprising thing about the proposal is that two chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), would be limited to within our current ability to detect them: four parts per trillion. In other words, if there is any sign of chemicals, it will be above the legal limit. (Both are acidic hydrocarbons in which all of the hydrogen has been replaced by fluorine.)

The second group of related chemicals (PFNA, PFHXs, PFBS and GenX Chemicals) will be organized as a group. Each will have certain limits on the levels allowed. Their respective levels will be calculated as a percentage of this limit, and the percentages total; If you exceed 100 percent, the regulations will take effect.

As part of its past efforts, the EPA has already provided grants to help established water utilities test for these chemicals. She also says that a variety of means are now available to extract these chemicals from the water.

Source link

Related Posts