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EPA Confirms it will set MCLs for PFAS and PFOA

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U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), a top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW)  applauds an announcement from David Ross, EPA Assistant Administrator for water, indicating the Agency intends to set a legal limit for two toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals found in drinking water. Specifically, the Agency will regulate perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which belong to a broader group of PFAS compounds and are known for their widespread occurrence and toxicity. Studies show that these chemicals can cause reproductive, developmental, and immunological effects in humans, as well as increase the risk of cancer. In a February 15, 2019 letter to Sen. Carper, Ross made a commitment that EPA will ultimately act to set drinking water maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOS and PFOA. A copy of the letter can be found HERE.

In the PFAS Action Plan released on February 14, 2019, the Agency stated it would make a determination regarding whether to set drinking water standard for these contaminants by the end of 2019. Carper is quoted as saying, “This is long-awaited but welcome news by EPA. Again and again, I’ve asked Acting Administrator Wheeler to make a clear and firm commitment that EPA will set a drinking water standard and it’s about time he showed some urgency on this important issue. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that EPA lives up to its commitment. I will also keep working to push EPA to accelerate the rest of the measures included in the PFAS Action Plan to add urgency to the other steps that must be taken to address the widespread contamination of all harmful PFAS chemicals.” During Andrew Wheeler’s nomination process to be EPA’s Administrator (and remove the title Acting), Carper urged delay on proceeding on the nomination until Wheeler accepted five bipartisan policies, including setting MCLs for PFOA and PFAS.

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