Former Zero Out Toxics, Advocate, U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Applying existing clean water laws should dramatically limit releases of forever chemicals
WASHINGTON – In a move that could protect drinking water from further toxic contamination, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Monday called on states to enforce existing laws to rein in releases of toxic per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The U.S. government recently confirmed the presence of PFAS in the drinking water systems serving 9.5 million people in just six states.
Also known as “forever chemicals,” PFAS have been linked to a wide range of serious health effects including kidney and liver disease, immune system suppression, birth defects and even cancer.
Environment America Research & Policy Center and U.S. PIRG Education Fund had joined several other groups in sending a letter urging the EPA to issue this guidance to states.
In response, experts from both organizations released the following statements:
John Rumpler, Environment America Research & Policy Center Senior Clean Water director said:
“While the best solution to PFAS contamination is phasing out the use of these chemicals to begin with, the EPA’s guidance makes it clear that state agencies issuing permits under the Clean Water Act should be turning off the toxic tap of PFAS flowing into our rivers and drinking water. Whether PFAS is dumped directly into our waterways, sent to sewage plants, used in firefighting foam, or contained in biosolids spread on farmland, states should start implementing the EPA’s guidance immediately, before more PFAS are dumped into our rivers and put our health at risk.”
Emily Rogers, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Zero Out Toxics advocate, said:
“No one should have to worry about ingesting toxic PFAS when they have a glass of water. However these ‘forever chemicals’ are found in the drinking water of more people every day. The EPA’s guidance is a step in the right direction for restricting the discharge of these highly toxic and mobile chemicals, but more must be done to turn off the tap on PFAS altogether to ensure we and our waterways can be healthy. I look forward to the EPA continuing to follow the PFAS Strategic Roadmap in addressing the contamination crisis that our country is facing.”