U.S. EPA Announces First-Ever Federal Standards to Regulate Toxic PFAS “Forever Chemicals”

Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration proposed the first-ever national standards for six dangerous “forever chemicals,” which have been detected throughout drinking water sources in the U.S.

“We applaud the Biden Administration’s ambitious new standards for regulating six common toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in U.S. drinking water. However, much more work must be done to regulate industries making the thousands of PFAS that currently exist, to end the use and production of these dangerous forever chemicals—which are so commonly used as additives in plastics, and to remediate and restore our environment.”

– Julia Cohen, MPH, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Plastic Pollution Coalition

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have highly versatile properties and have been used near ubiquitously in consumer and industrial products—especially in firefighting foam and equipment, and plastic products and packaging—since the 1950s. This latest Federal action complements existing actions already set forth by the Biden Administration to address toxic PFAS pollution in drinking water, including major investments to help communities on the frontlines of PFAS pollution and health assistance to firefighters exposed to PFAS. 

To date, more than 9,000 PFAS chemicals have been invented and used worldwide. PFAS chemicals do not easily degrade in nature and are now found widely detected in air, soils, drinking water, and human bodies—where a growing body of research alarmingly indicates PFAS can lead to serious health problems, including cancers, reproductive issues, hormone problems, and more. Children and pregnant people are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of PFAS. PFAS can be removed from tap water by using NSF-53 certified filters containing activated carbon or reverse osmosis membranesit is important to note and often overlooked that bottled water is commonly contaminated by PFAS. Plastic Pollution Coalition has been advocating for the use of Filtered Not Bottled water during U.S. lead pipe replacement projects.


Plastic Pollution Coalition is hosting a webinar next Thursday, March 23: “Safe Drinking Water for All: Protecting Communities from Plastic During U.S. Lead Pipe Replacement.” Panelists will discuss the health hazards of single-use plastic bottles and plastic pipes such as those made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and will recommend options for safe, non-plastic drinking water solutions during lead pipe replacement as well as tips and resources to ensure community water sources remain free of pollutants. These solutions are applicable not only for lead-impacted communities, but also the growing number of communities impacted by PFAs, microplastics, and other chemicals that commonly contaminate water resources.


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