BOSTON -- The water will be safer to drink soon in Massachusetts after the state officials announced new regulations to minimize toxic PFAS -- the “forever” chemicals that too often taint drinking water. These rules, which regulate six key chemicals, could set a template for other states to follow to protect their residents. This groundbreaking action was sparked by a petition filed by Community Action Works and other organizations in Massachusetts, following years of advocacy and organizing across the region and across the country.
In response, Shaina Kasper, Community Action Works’ clean water director, and her counterparts at Community Action Works’ partner organizations U.S. PIRG and Environment America, released the following statements:
“These new drinking water rules will save lives. Massachusetts is now the national leader on protecting drinking water from toxic ‘forever’ chemicals,” said Kasper, who co-facilitates a national coalition of grassroots groups fighting PFAS water contamination in their communities. “The state providing funding for testing is critical, because now communities that have been polluted won’t bear the burden of paying for tests. We applaud MassDEP for including a three-year review, knowing that the work doesn't stop at regulating six chemicals out of thousands. We hope it will pave the way for regulating PFAS as a class, rather than a chemical by chemical approach.”
“Kudos to Massachusetts for limiting residents’ exposure to PFAS in their drinking water. Next we need to stop putting PFAS into our environment in the first place. PFAS are used in too many everyday products, including food packaging. When we throw those products away, the PFAS get into our waste stream, where they can make their way into our drinking water. We know that these chemicals are linked to cancers, reproductive disorders and more. Is it really worth the risks to our health, especially when there are PFAS-free alternatives on the market?” said Danielle Melgar, U.S. PIRG’s toxics program advocate.
“Once PFAS from any source -- from household products to firefighting foam -- get into our water supply, they stay there,” said Laura Miller, Environment America’s clean water advocate. “While the Massachusetts mandate is a great first step, it only begins to address the threat. We need to do more across the country -- not just clean up existing contamination, but turn off the tap on these “forever chemicals”--” to protect Americans and America."