Tuesday, May 29, 2018

NJ heading toward tougher chemicals-in-water rule. Could it embarrass the USEPA into adopting similar standards?

If DEP adopts nation’s strictest proposal regarding PFOS, regulators could require public water systems and private well owners to limit amount of chemical in drinking water to 13 ppt
chemicals in beakers

Jon Hurdle reports for NJ Spotlight:
Scientists are recommending that New Jersey adopt the nation’s strictest limit on a toxic chemical that was once used for nonstick cookware and flame-resistant fabrics and is now linked with certain cancers, high cholesterol, and immune-system problems.
The Drinking Water Quality Institute, which advises the Department of Environmental Protection, formally said on Friday that New Jersey’s drinking water should have no more than 13 parts per trillion (ppt) of the chemical PFOS, a part of the perflurochemical family (PFCs), also known as PFAS, in order to protect public health.
If adopted by the DEP, the proposal would become a “maximum contaminant limit” (MCL), which would allow regulators to require public water systems and private well owners to keep their water below that level.
PFOS is the third type of PFC to be evaluated by the DWQI since 2014. The panel has also recommended strict limits on PFNA, which was accepted by the DEP, and PFOA, which the DEP has not yet adopted more than a year after the recommendation was made.

Higher levels in New Jersey

The chemicals have been found in New Jersey more often and in higher concentrations than in many other states. EPA tests from 2013-2015 found PFOS in 3.4 percent of New Jersey public water systems, almost twice the national rate of 1.9 percent. In other tests from 2006-2016, PFOS was found in more than half of 76 public systems.
While the PFOS proposal was in line with the DWQI’s draft report on the chemical late last year, it refocused attention on New Jersey as a national leader in the regulation of PFCs during the same week that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called a summit to discuss possible national regulation of the chemicals. The summit was attended by New Jersey officials, including acting DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe.
The recommended legal limit for PFOS in New Jersey is much stricter than a health-advisory level issued by the EPA, which recommends — but does not require — a level of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA individually or combined. 

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