Jan 29, 2019

EPA Draft Plan Will Not Set Limits for Two Emerging Contaminants

A forthcoming draft plan will not regulate PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, a source told Politico

Two emerging contaminants will not be regulated under an new EPA draft plan
Two emerging contaminants will not be regulated under an new EPA draft plan

Two sources familiar with a forthcoming draft plan from the U.S. EPA revealed that the agency plans to not set a drinking water limit for two emerging contaminants, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). The decision means the two chemicals will not be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, though some states have established their own limits for the contaminants.

According to Politico, the decision comes less than a year after the White House and EPA faced backlash for delaying publication of a health study on the chemicals, which found them to be more dangerous than initially expected even under low concentrations. PFOA and PFOS have been found across the country in drinking water and is associated with products such as Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam, making them often present surrounding airports and military bases, as well as manufacturing plants.

While EPA’s draft plan will not include the emerging contaminants under a drinking water limit, it will list them as hazardous under the Superfund law, which could potentially help force polluters to fund cleanup efforts. However, the agency has declined to discuss the plan until the review is complete and it remains unclear when the the plan will be released, reported Politico.

EPA currently has a voluntary health advisory for PFOA and PFOS of 70 ppt, which was set in 2016. Some states have set their own standards, including New Jersey which has set maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFNA.

The emerging contaminants have been found in drinking water throughout the U.S., including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Alaska, Minnesota, and Massachusetts.