On June 15, 2022, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced four drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the latest action under President Biden’s action plan to deliver clean water and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap. The EPA also announced that it is inviting states and territories to apply for $1 billion – the first of $5 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law grant funding – to address PFAS (sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals”) and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, specifically in small or disadvantaged communities. These actions build on EPA’s progress to safeguard communities from PFAS contamination and scientifically inform upcoming efforts, including EPA’s forthcoming proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS, set to be released in the fall of 2022.
What’s Covered by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
As part of a government-wide effort to confront PFAS pollution, EPA is making available $1 billion in grant funding through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination. These funds can be used in small or disadvantaged communities to address emerging contaminants like PFAS in drinking water through technical assistance, water quality testing, contractor training, and installation of centralized treatment technologies and systems.
Lifetime Drinking Water Health Advisories for Four PFAS
The EPA is releasing PFAS health advisories in light of newly available science and in accordance with its responsibility to protect public health.
- EPA’s lifetime health advisories identify levels to protect all people, including sensitive populations and life stages, from adverse health effects resulting from a lifetime of exposure to these PFAS in drinking water.
- They also take into account other potential sources of exposure to these PFAS beyond drinking water (for example, food, air, consumer products, etc.), which provides an additional layer of protection.
- EPA is issuing interim, updated drinking water health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) that replace those it issued in 2016. The updated advisory levels, which are based on new science and consider lifetime exposure, indicate that some negative health effects may occur with concentrations of PFOA or PFOS in water that are near zero and below EPA’s ability to detect at this time.
- For the first time, EPA is issuing final health advisories for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (“GenX” chemicals). The GenX chemicals and PFBS health advisory levels are well above the level of detection, based on risk analyses in recent scientific studies.
The agency’s new health advisories provide technical information that federal, state, and local agencies can use when addressing PFAS in drinking water, including water quality monitoring, optimization of existing technologies that reduce PFAS, and strategies to reduce exposure.
The EPA is also moving forward with proposing a PFAS National Drinking Water Regulation in fall 2022. Learn more about the EPA’s new drinking water health advisory for PFAS chemicals and its $1 billion in bipartisan infrastructure law funding.
We are at the forefront of PFAS and environmental toxic tort litigation involving contaminated water. We are currently court-approved co-lead counsel in two of the largest PFAS and water-related toxic tort class actions in the United States: Victoria Carey, et al. v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours and The Chemours Company, et al. (E.D.N.C) and In re Flint Water Cases (E.D. Mich.).
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