New EPA Drinking Water Rule Regulates ‘Forever Chemicals’

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed the first-ever national drinking water standard for polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals.” The rule would establish legally enforceable limits for common chemical contaminants in drinking water.

“Communities around the nation have endured the constant threat of PFAS contamination for far too long,” Michael S. Regan, administrator of the EPA, stated in a press release. “By proposing to set legally enforceable thresholds for six PFAS known to exist in drinking water, the [EPA] is taking a critical step to protect public health from PFAS pollution, using the latest science and complementing state efforts to restrict PFAS.”

Under the Clean Water Act, the government recently categorized PFAS as dangerous pollutants. This new rule establishes exact limitations on the amount of a given chemical that is safe for human consumption and mandates that public water authorities check for its presence and remedy contamination wherever it happens.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) stated that ten billion dollars from the Inflation Reduction Act would be used to tackle the damage caused by everlasting chemicals.

“These funds will be essential for giving our municipalities the resources they need to comply with these new requirements so that we can prioritize clean water for our people,” she added.

An environmental activist and actor, Mark Ruffalo, supported the new regulation.

“My message to polluters is straightforward: after decades of poisoning your employees and neighbors, it is time to make public health, not your profits, our primary concern,” he stated. “My message to communities impacted by PFAS poisoning is as straightforward: assistance is finally available.”