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EPA Sets First National Limits on Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ PFAS in Drinking Water

In a landmark decision, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established the first ever limits on six types of toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water. Commonly known as “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the , PFAS have been linked to various serious issues like cancers and liver problems.

Dubbing it a “huge, historic public health win”, the EPA is restricting two of the most widely used PFAS – PFOA and PFOS – to no more than 4 parts per trillion. Three other variants, PFNA, PFHxS and GenX, cannot exceed 10 parts per trillion. This reflects the lowest levels technologies can currently detect and treat in tap water.

While 11 states already regulate PFAS, the EPA estimates this will benefit over 100 million Americans nationwide served by the 4,000-6,700 public water systems expected to require treatment upgrades. Non-compliance will trigger a five year maximum timeframe for installation.

Research shows even minimal exposure increases risks of kidney and testicular cancers as well as thyroid and liver diseases. The EPA predicts this decision will prevent thousands of illnesses and deaths annually. Funding of $1 billion is available to support testing, filtration and help private well owners.

Activated carbon filters can remove PFAS but their persistence means effects may take years to fully diminish from the body. While only addressing a fraction of over 12,000 PFAS types, this action signifies critical progress in the fight against ‘forever chemicals' contaminating our taps. Further protections are still urged to sufficiently safeguard public health long-term.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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