EPA expands testing for ‘forever chemicals’ from drinking water

Media Contacts
Taran Volckhausen

Former Communications Associate, The Public Interest Network

The federal agency has yet to take action to reduce use of dangerous PFAS contamination


WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will expand testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS, in drinking water throughout the country. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said that the rule outlining drinking water monitoring for 29 PFAS and lithium had been finalized by the agency.

PFAS are a class of over 9,000 toxic chemicals that are used to make a wide variety of consumer products, including food packaging, rugs and carpets, clothing, and firefighting foam, water and grease resistant. Exposure to these chemicals, even in small amounts over time, has been linked to serious health effects including kidney and liver disease, developmental issues and cancer.

In response, experts from PIRG and Environment America made the following statements:

“Toxic PFAS chemicals should be nowhere near our food, bodies, or waterways. EPA’s announcement to monitor 29 PFAS in drinking water takes a step toward assessing the scope of the problem nationwide, but fails to take any tangible action to reduce the use of these dangerous toxic chemicals,” said Emily Rogers, PIRG’s Zero Out Toxics advocate. “We hope that this rule will lead to more comprehensive restrictions that put public health first and protect our communities from PFAS pollution.”

“It’s already well-established that PFAS pollution is widespread across the country,” said John Rumpler, senior director of Environment America’s clean water program.  “The only way to safeguard our drinking water is to phase out the use of these toxic chemicals as soon as possible.  While new data can help illuminate the problem, EPA must not allow this new monitoring program to become a rationale for further delay before addressing its root cause.”