CBS News Miami: EPA announces first-ever national regulations for “forever chemicals” in drinking water

For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday it is issuing a national regulation limiting the amount of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, found in drinking water.

Commonly called “forever chemicals,” PFAS are synthetic chemicals found nearly everywhere — in air, water, and soil — and can take thousands of years to break down in the environment.

The EPA has stated there is no safe level of exposure to PFAS without risk of health impacts, but now it will require that public water utilities test for six different types of PFAS chemicals to reduce exposure in drinking water. The new standards will reduce PFAS exposure for 100 million people, according to the EPA, and prevent thousands of deaths and illnesses.

“Drinking water contaminated with PFAS has plagued communities across this country for too long,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement Wednesday.

For public water utility companies to comply with the new drinking water standards, the EPA is making $1 billion available to states and territories to implement PFAS testing and treatment at public water systems. That money is part of a $9 billion investment made possible by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to assist communities impacted by PFAS contamination.

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