Is your PFAS forever chemical among those exceeding new EPA limits? Check out our map to find out.

PFAS Contamination in Drinking Water Systems

Recent announcements from the Environmental Protection Agency have revealed that millions of Americans are served by drinking water systems that have exceeded new limits for toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. According to USA TODAY, a total of 608 systems across the country have detected PFAS levels at or above the newly established limits, impacting nearly 35 million people.

Health Risks Associated with PFAS

PFAS, or per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are chemicals that are highly persistent in the environment and have been linked to serious health issues, including an increased risk of cancer. These chemicals are commonly found in food packaging, firefighting foam, and various water-repellent items.

Extent of Contamination

Despite the EPA’s efforts to track the spread of PFAS across the United States, data from more than 200 large cities’ water systems, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, are not yet available. As quarterly updates are published, the number of affected Americans is expected to increase, potentially impacting up to 100 million people.

Analysis of Water Systems

USA TODAY’s analysis indicates that larger cities have exceeded PFAS limits at higher rates compared to smaller areas. However, it’s important to note that these results are based on single samples and may not accurately reflect long-term exposure levels.

Costs of Compliance

Meeting the new PFAS standards set by the EPA can be a costly endeavor. Estimates suggest that medium-sized cities may need to invest up to $3 million in new equipment to comply with the regulations. The overall annual cost for monitoring, informing customers, and implementing treatment measures for PFAS could amount to $1.5 billion for public drinking water systems.

Implementation Timeline

The EPA is rolling out the PFAS limits gradually over the next few years to ease the financial burden on cities. Water systems are required to complete initial monitoring within the next three years, with ongoing monitoring and potential solutions to follow in the subsequent years. Enforcement of the limits is set to begin five years from the initial announcement.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-04-13 10:27:56

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