New Jersey Sets Higher Drinking Water Standards

Standards crack down on PFOA, PFAS

New Jersey adopts new water standards

The State of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection announced that New Jersey will become the first state to set formal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). According to a news release by the State of New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, the new standard will follow the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute’s recommended drinking water standard of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFNA.

PFOA and PFNA fall under the category of chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals struggle to break down in the environment and the human body. Additionally, PFOA and PFNA are linked to liver and immune function, cholesterol levels, development of fetuses, and even increase risk for certain types of cancer. Recently, they have been found in 37 New Jersey public water systems above the new limit.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced the new standards Nov. 1, 2017, during a news conference at New Jersey American Water’s headquarters in Voorheers. Out of the 37 New Jersey water systems with PFOA detected, approximately half already have made progress toward reducing the PFOA concentration. 

“Setting protective standards for these contaminants continues New Jersey’s long tradition of being a national leader in using strong science to ensure residents receive the highest quality drinking water,” said Martin in the department's news release.

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