US Cracks Down On PFAS In Tap Water: A Milestone

The US has set new rules to control harmful chemicals in tap water. 

Millions of Americans may be drinking water with harmful chemicals. These chemicals, called PFAS, can cause cancer and other health problems.

On Wednesday, officials made a rule. This rule says local governments must remove six types of PFAS from water systems.

The government will give an extra $1 billion to help cover the costs.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a statement. They said the new rule will help Americans stay healthy.

“EPA administrator Michael Regan said, “Drinking water with PFAS has hurt communities for too long. Today, we finalize this important rule to save lives and keep children healthy.”

The new rules give cities three years to check for PFAS in water. If they find harmful levels, they have five years to fix it.

Addressing PFAS Contamination in US Drinking Water

The EPA says some public water systems in the US might have harmful chemicals. These chemicals, called PFAS, are used in many everyday products.

PFAS-laden firefighting foam

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals are tough to break down and can stay in the environment for a long time. Even though some companies stopped making them, they’re still around.

Regular filters like Brita don’t remove PFAS from water. But fancy filters under the sink can help.

The EPA says any exposure to PFAS is risky. This may lead to cancer and various other health issues.

Fixing water systems with PFAS can be expensive, especially for small towns. But the government has money to help.

The Biden administration set aside billions of dollars to fix water problems, including PFAS contamination.

Where ‘Forever Chemicals’ Come From?

Forever chemicals pervade various facets of our lives, from our water and food packaging to our cookware, bedding, attire, and even within our bodies.The US government is taking steps to limit these long-lasting PFAS chemicals in tap water.

The EPA’s new rules target five PFAS chemicals and mixtures that include a sixth compound. This move could save lives and prevent illnesses. Europe is also getting ready to ban some PFAS compounds.

Some companies are already phasing out the most harmful PFAS chemicals, like PFOS and PFOA, which can harm our immune system, fertility, and development. But there are over 9,000 PFAS compounds out there, with hundreds of different uses. PFOS and PFOA can stick around in the environment for decades.

How long do forever chemicals last?

Forever chemicals stick around for a really long time. They don’t break down easily and can build up inside living things. Certain substances linger in the body for extended durations compared to others.

PFAS chemicals come in different types. Certain individuals possess brief chains, while others possess extended chains.Long-chain ones can stay in the body for a really long time. Short-chain ones don’t stick around as much because the kidneys can get rid of them easier.

In one study, people who drank water with PFAS from firefighting foam had these chemicals in their blood. The long-chain ones stayed for about 2.93 years, while short-chain PFAS only lasted 44 days. This happens because the body can clear out the short-chain ones faster.

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