The Washington Post reports on new EPA health advisories for PFAS years after known effects on infertility, cancers, and thyroid problems.
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Water utilities across the country know the need to install PFAS treatment systems is upon them, and they're facing it with both dread and frantic applications for grant money provided under the Infrastructure Act of 2021. Case in point: Englewood, Colorado recently received $38 million dollars to revamp their water delivery systems to accommodate for aging infrastructure, emerging contaminants (like PFAS constituents), climate impacts and severe drought.
The new advisory is not regulation, but those for PFOA and PFOS are indeed scheduled for 2023. It is thousands of times stricter than what the EPA advised in 2016 under Obama. It also adds PFBS and GenX to the list, which were previously thought to be safe alternatives.
In 2016 the Lifetime Health Advisory Limit was set at 70 parts per trillion. Now they have been revised to 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS, which are below laboratory detection limits.
Machines used to analyze at the current levels cost upwards of $500,000. If the 2022 EPA advisory levels ever turn into regulation, there is no way to detect these levels at scale with our existing technology. With so many utilities sending in samples on a regular basis to the limited number of labs capable of PFAS analysis, it's not only expensive but also a huge endeavor. Implications include huge costs to water utilities, and this is why organizations representing water utilities are seeking an exemption from having to remove PFAS constituents.
Your local water utility is required to send you an annual water quality report.
Don't throw it out!
Check to see if they are currently testing for PFAS constituents.
If not, you may want to contact your local representative.
Learn more about EPA's methods for testing PFAS here.
Learn more about industrial PFAS removal from sites here.
Learn more about what to do if PFAS is found at a location near your home here.