HomeLatest NewsPFAS chemicals exceed new EPA limits in hundreds of water systems

PFAS chemicals exceed new EPA limits in hundreds of water systems

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Millions of Americans are facing the threat of toxic “forever chemicals” in their drinking water systems, as new limits for PFAS substances were recently announced by the EPA. USA TODAY’s analysis found that 608 systems in the country have measured PFAS at or above the established limits, impacting nearly 35 million people. Additionally, 13 million people are supplied by systems that have detected the chemicals at levels requiring reporting to the EPA, showing the widespread presence of these harmful substances in our water supply.

The EPA’s efforts to track PFAS contamination represent the largest-scale initiative in the United States to date, with thousands of water systems now required to test for more than two dozen types of PFAS. However, the analysis revealed that some major cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston, are not yet included in the EPA’s data set. As quarterly updates are published, the number of impacted Americans is expected to rise significantly, reaching an estimated 100 million people. It is crucial for water systems to monitor levels consistently to ensure compliance with the new limits and avoid potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure.

The financial burden of addressing PFAS contamination is substantial, with the EPA estimating costs of up to $1.5 billion annually for monitoring, informing customers, and implementing treatment solutions. While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides funding to assist communities dealing with PFAS contamination, many water systems may need to raise rates to cover ongoing operational expenses. The phased rollout of PFAS limits by the EPA aims to reduce the strain on cities, allowing time for monitoring, informing customers, and implementing solutions before enforcement measures are enforced in the coming years.

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