SCHUMER STATEMENT ON FIRST-EVER PROPOSED EPA STANDARD TO LIMIT TOXIC PFAS IN DRINKING WATER
Schumer Has Been Relentless In His Calls For EPA To Set A Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) For Highly Toxic PFOA/PFOS Chemicals; Majority Leader Also Included $10 Billion in The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for PFAS Clean-up
Senator Says EPA’s Proposed New Nat’l Drinking Water Standard Is MAJOR Step In The Right Direction To Protect NY From PFAS Pollution
Schumer: This Critical Step Will Make Drinking Water Safer Across New York
Following years of advocacy to clean up dangerous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water, U.S Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a first-ever national drinking water standard for six different PFAS known to occur in drinking water. Schumer said that the EPA’s proposal is an important step to protect the public health of Upstate communities and to avoid new Yorkers’ long term exposure to PFAS pollution, and noted that he fought to include $10 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to fund PFAS clean-up.
“Today’s announcement from the Biden EPA proposing the first-ever national drinking water standard for six PFAS chemicals is a major step toward protecting all New Yorkers,” said U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. “PFAS pollution is a serious public health challenge and this is why I fought to include a record $10 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to supercharge drinking water clean-up efforts. This proposal will spur clean-ups and radically reduce health impacts that could flow from long-term exposure to PFAS. I am proud and pleased to see today’s action from EPA after my years of advocacy calling for a PFAS drinking water standards across multiple administrations.”
The EPA’s proposal will regulate PFOA and PFOS as individual contaminants that can reliably be measured at 4 parts per trillion. The proposal would also limit any mixture containing one or more of these four PFAS: PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX Chemicals. If finalized, these regulations will require public water systems to actively monitor for these six PFAS, and if levels exceed the proposed regulatory standards, systems must notify the public and reduce PFAS contamination. If fully implemented, the rules will establish nationwide protection from PFAS pollution for all people.
From Hoosick Falls to Newburgh to Long Island to Rockland County, Schumer has a long history of fighting against PFAS pollution and for calling on the EPA to address the PFAS crisis, going back to a 2019 Capital Region visit, where he secured a commitment from the agency to set a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for highly toxic PFOA/PFOS chemicals. After the discovery of elevated PFAS well above the health advisory level in Rockland and Westchester homes, schools, and communities, Schumer visited Clarkstown in 2021 to once again call on the EPA to take immediate action to curb the toxic and dangerous problem spreading through the Hudson Valley. Following the Senator’s relentless push, the EPA heeded Schumer’s calls to better inform the Rockland community about their plans to address PFAS contamination, agreeing to answer residents’ questions at a Rockland County Legislature's Water Resources Task Force meeting. Just weeks later, Schumer secured a critical step in the PFAS clean-up process for Stewart Air National Guard Base (ANGB) and the surrounding Orange County community, getting ANGB accepted into the well-funded and robust Defense Environmental Restoration Program.
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are two types of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of manufactured chemicals, and are persistent in the environment and resist degradation. These toxic chemicals are often used to manufacture products like fabric protectors, firefighting foam, and stain repellents. The EPA has set a health advisory level for PFOS and PFOA at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) but until today, the agency has never proposed an enforceable drinking water standard for any PFAS. Exposure to PFAS chemicals has been linked to certain cancers and other serious adverse health effects.