The interest in reducing environmental lead exposure is evident with the recent revision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the nation’s Air Quality Standards, which were lowered from 1.5 to 0.15 ug of lead per cubic meter of air. “With these stronger standards, a new generation of Americans is protected from harmful lead emissions, especially children,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. The same goal was desired for the drinking water lead standard, which the EPA lowered in 1998 from 50 to 15 µg of lead per liter of water.
Elevated levels of lead in drinking water occur despite government action
A recent third-party study by Minnesota-based Water Science & Marketing (WSM), LLC, identified commercially available point-of-use (POU) treatment devices as effective for removing perfluorochemicals (PFCs) from drinking water supplies. Stephanie Harris, managing editor of Water Quality Products, recently spoke Phil Olsen, partner and project manager for WSM, about the findings of this study.
Stephanie Harris: Provide an overview of the recently completed PFC study.
In January 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started enforcing the new arsenic limit of 10 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. The previous limit was 50 ppb. Since that date, there has been a flurry of activity in bringing selective arsenic media to the market.
Effective arsenic removal applications for water treatment
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long regulated radium in drinking water, but in December 2000 the EPA lowered the maximum allowable levels for radionuclides. As a result, water utilities across the country retested for radium. Those that found radium contamination exceeding new EPA standards faced a three-year deadline to comply—by either removing the radium to improve the quality of the existing water supply or finding alternative water sources.
Water treatment system successfully removes radium from drinking water
Are PFCs the next public water concern?
Like other manmade chemicals that have been polluting our drinking water over the years, perfluorochemicals (PFC) are not naturally occurring chemicals; they were developed in a lab- oratory to meet an industry need. PFCs are carbon chains (typically four or eight carbon atoms) that are bonded to fluorine atoms.
PFCs can be used as an ingredient in a manufacturing process or as part of a finished product. Companies have used them for a number of years for products that resist heat, oil, grease and water.