4 MIN READ
“WASHINGTON — For the first time, the federal government will require utilities to remove from drinking water two toxic chemicals found in everything from waterproof clothing to dental floss and even toilet paper, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Tuesday.
Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the E.P.A., said the government intends to require near-zero levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, part of a class of chemicals known as known as PFAS. Exposure to the chemicals has been linked to cancer, liver damage, fertility and thyroid problems, asthma and other health effects.
“This is very significant,” Mr. Regan said in an interview. “This is the first time in U.S. history that we’ve set enforceable limits for PFAS pollution.”
The synthetic chemicals are so ubiquitous in modern life that nearly all Americans, including newborn babies, carry PFAS in their bloodstream. Dubbed “forever chemicals” because they do not break down and persist in the environment, the chemicals seep into soil and water. As many as 200 million Americans are exposed to PFAS in their tap water, according to a peer reviewed 2020 study.”