EPA calls for new chemical limits for drinking water
Under a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency, water suppliers would regularly test for toxic PFAS chemical compounds. Utilities would alert the public when traces were found and remove the chemicals when levels were too high. The agency says doing so would save thousands of lives and prevent serious illnesses. Incompliant water utilities would face fines or lose federal grants.
What are PFAS, and why are they harmful? Manufacturers started using the chemicals in products such as nonstick pans, food packaging, and firefighting foam in the 1940s. They are now mostly phased out in the United States. PFAS are commonly recognized as endocrine disruptors. Such chemicals disrupt hormones and have been linked to decreased fertility and other sexual abnormalities, cancer, and respiratory and nervous system problems.
Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s report from East Palestine, Ohio, about residents’ concerns over the cleanliness of their drinking water after a train derailment.
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