Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Michael Regan addresses a gathering of state and local government officials at The White House on January 27. He announced new drinking water standards to identify PFAS chemicals on Tuesday. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo
March 14 (UPI) -- The Biden administration announced new national drinking water standards that address polyfluoroalkyl substances, of PFAS, limiting their exposure in humans.
Officials said the proposed rule will allow federal and state officials the guidelines it needs to combat PFAS pollution. PFAS is a category of manufactured chemicals that can cause serious health problems, including cancer if people are exposed to them over a long period of time.
The proposed standard will allow the Environmental Protection Agency to test public water systems for six PFAS chemicals, called "forever chemicals" because they don't break down over time.
The agency will be required to notify the public if the levels of these PFAS exceed the proposed regulatory standards and take action to reduce the level of PFAS in the water supply.
"Communities across this country have suffered far too long from the ever-present threat of PFAS pollution," EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement. "That's why President Biden launched a whole-of-government approach to aggressively confront these harmful chemicals, and EPA is leading the way forward.
Regan said the new PFAS standards will be based on the "best available science" and provide states with information to establish their own standards.
"This action has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of PFAS-related illnesses and marks a major step toward safeguarding all our communities from these dangerous contaminants," Regan said.
PFAS chemicals can be found in fertilizer that then seeps into drinking water, fire extinguisher foam, manufacturing or chemical production facilities, and a wide range of food packaging and personal care products.