Emily Bacha, Vice President of Public Affairs, June 16, 2022
Columbus, OH — The U.S. EPA has announced new health advisory guidance levels for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in advance of national drinking water regulations slated for announcement Fall 2022.
PFAS are a family of nearly 5,000 chemicals used to make many common-place products, from food packaging to firefighting foams. They are often dubbed “forever chemicals” for their ability to linger in the environment.
The EPA’s new health advisory levels for PFAS are well below previous U.S. EPA advisories—providing stronger protections for communities. The 2016 Health Advisory previously set a combined limit of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS. The new limits are as follows and include two new chemicals in the PFAS family:
Though the US EPA has not yet developed national drinking water regulations for PFAS, the agency has provided guidance to public water systems to understand the risks of PFAS and proactive actions they can take to protect customers. Additionally, the agency sets lifetime health advisories to identify levels to protect all people, including sensitive populations, from the adverse health effects due to a lifetime of exposure to PFAS in drinking water.
Data from Ohio EPA’s testing of 1,550 drinking water systems across Ohio show levels of PFAS far above the new health advisory. During 2020 and 2021, the Ohio EPA tested drinking water systems as a part of the agency’s PFAS Action Plan, which showed 6 percent—or 106 out of 1,550 public water systems—had some detectable level of PFAS under 70 ppt.
In response, the following statement can be attributed to Melanie Houston, Interim Managing Director of Water Policy for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC):
“The science is certain: PFAS pose a danger to the health of our communities. We applaud the new guidance issued by the U.S. EPA to protect our drinking water from these forever chemicals.
“The OEC encourages the Ohio EPA to proactively act on the new health advisory guidance by implementing stronger protective drinking water regulations for PFAS now. Additionally, the Ohio EPA should work quickly, using its PFAS drinking water analysis, to assist public water systems with reported PFAS levels above the new U.S. EPA health advisories.”
The Ohio Environmental Council (OEC) is the state’s most comprehensive, effective and respected environmental advocate for a healthier, more sustainable Ohio. The OEC develops and ensures the implementation of forward-thinking, science-based, pragmatic solutions to secure healthy air, land, and water for all who call Ohio home.
Media Inquires: ebacha<at>theoec.org