BOSTON - Massachusetts could soon be the next state to protect its residents from contamination of PFAS in public drinking water.
PFAS, a group of acids called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, are substances used in industrial chemical processes. These man-made chemicals do not break down and have been linked, per the CDC, to cancer, asthma, low birth weight, and thyroid conditions. Recently, the chemical has been turning up in high numbers in water supplies throughout the state.
According to boston.com, municipal water systems in 28 communities out of 37 tested positive for the presence of PFAS. Twelve of those communities had high amounts of PFAS above the recommended standards. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends no more than 70 parts per trillion in public drinking water. A low standard that was put in place three years ago after PFAS was seen as an “emerging contaminant." The new bill would be much more aggressive.
Many believe the EPA has failed to act quickly and that states need to intervene with tougher standards.
“As the EPA falters and drags its feet, states are on the front line of protecting citizens from toxic chemicals by enacting strong policies,” said Sarah Doll, an environmental advocate and national director of the nonprofit coalition Safer States. “Millions of Americans are dealing with drinking water contaminated with PFAS chemicals.”
No one should have to worry about drinking toxic chemicals when they turn on their tap. This new #PFAS standard of 20ppt for 6 chemicals is a huge step in the right direction, and we are happy to see MA taking the lead in absence of federal action. #MAPolihttps://t.co/Tw6b7NP0mR— Shaina Kasper (@ShainaKasper) December 13, 2019
Back in September, Gov. Charlie Baker proposed the new bill with a budget of roughly $24 million for the regulation and testing of PFAS within towns and cities.
“This budget, I think, is a very big deal for the surrounding area because these are things we have become accustomed to,” Collin Partyka, a resident of Blandford, told 22 News. Adding, “You should have access to water, especially clean water.”
When implemented, Massachusetts would be the second state to regulate PFAS in public drinking water. Per the Boston Globe, the new standards are scheduled to go into effect on December 27.
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