PFAS costs billions of dollars in medical and infrastructure costs. Who should pay that cost?

The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that it will cost drinking water systems $772 million annually to comply with proposed new guidelines on “permanent chemicals” in drinking water.

Activists at the Environmental Working Group believe that local governments should not pay for PFAS remediation, and that the companies and institutions that released the pollutants into the environment should bear the costs associated with cleanup.

The Bellbrook and Fairborn public water systems, among other cities across the country, were recently named in a $10.3 billion settlement with PFAS manufacturer 3M, which makes products with PFAS. Leaders in both cities have said they will use the settlement money to address PFAS in their water supplies.

EWG senior scientist Tasha Stoiver said people concerned about PFAS can use their own filters to protect themselves from PFAS in drinking water as governments comply with new standards. .

In its filter research, EWG found reverse osmosis systems to be the most effective. But these systems are often expensive and not renter-friendly, so water pitchers with activated carbon filters can also help filter out PFAS, Stoiber said.

Read the whole project:

– PFAS detected in 15 local public water systems around proposed EPA guidelines

– Experts talk about how PFAS got into our waters and efforts to eliminate ‘permanent chemicals’

– Dayton said it was working to address PFAS but did not give details

– Worried about PFAS contamination? 5 things you can do at home

– Billions of dollars in medical and infrastructure costs for PFAS. Who should pay that cost?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a public water system that complies with low legal standards will save Americans about $1.2 billion in health care costs.

Research into the long-term health effects of PFAS exposure is ongoing, but initial reports link PFAS to liver, bladder, and even certain types of lung cancer, as well as problems related to the immune system. relevance has been pointed out. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to PFAS in utero can also affect developing children, and the effects are not reversible.

“The more we study[PFAS]the more we know that PFAS affects the immune system, hormones in the body, and reproductive effects,” Stoiber said. “There are a number of health effects associated with these chemicals, which is why we are concerned.”

According to the CDC, most people in the United States and other developed countries have measurable amounts of PFAS in their blood. PFAS have also been detected at much lower levels in urine, breast milk, and cord blood.

PFAS Regulation: What Will Change?

Since 2016, federal guidance has suggested that drinking-water concentrations of PFOA and PFOS, the most common types of PFAS, alone or in combination, should not exceed 70 parts per trillion (ppt). . The Ohio EPA has designated this limit as a “behavior level.”

As early as next year, the Federal EPA will create a new statutory standard of 4 ppt for PFOS and PFOA.

According to EWG, this proposed maximum contamination level (MCL) is a bold new step to protect drinking water, as federal standards have not been updated for decades.

According to the Ohio EPA, which is tasked with regulating public water systems, public water systems are not currently required to sample for PFAS chemicals. The Federal EPA will soon require most water utilities nationwide to test for PFAS.

Testing for PFAS in water systems may return results as “not detectable.” This does not mean that no trace of her PFAS was present in the system during the testing period. Rather, it indicates that the test method is below the limit of detection (often 5 ppt).

Ohio EPA officials say the new test can detect levels of PFAS below 5ppt.

The US EPA has also proposed legally enforceable hazard indices for four other PFAS mixtures. A hazard index is a tool used to assess the health risk from exposure to a chemical mixture and is determined by the EPA formula.

Ohio EPA media coordinator Dina Pearce said, “Once the federal rule becomes effective, Ohio will develop a rule that meets federal standards.”

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