Pennsylvania passes ‘forever chemicals’ drinking water limit

Pennsylvania has enacted statewide drinking water limits for two forms of highly toxic chemicals called “forever chemicals.”

The rule, published earlier this month in the official register of state agency actions, sets limits of 14 ppt for perfluorooctanoic acid and 18 ppt for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the rule applies to all 3,117 water systems.

Both chemicals belong to a group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances collectively known as PFASs and are used in products such as nonstick cookware, carpets, firefighting foams and fast food wrappers. .

Currently, the federal government has issued an advisory level of 70ppt or less, but there are no national limits.

Studies have found links between chemicals and cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and other health problems, but state officials say the effects of the chemicals on human health are entirely unknown. said it was not understood.

Former Governor Tom Wolfe’s administration has begun plans to clean up affected sites, test water systems, and create standards. It was shown to be contaminated with compounds.

In 2021, the Department of Environmental Protection said about a third of the more than 400 sites it tested across Pennsylvania were found to contain one of the chemicals.

Chemicals are increasingly being found in public water systems and private wells across the country after the federal government ordered public water systems with more than 10,000 customers to test for chemicals in 2013.

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