EPA’s New Recommendations for PFAS Released

On March 14th, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new recommended lower level for drinking water for PFAS (Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances). At NH Tap, we are passionate about seeing Granite Staters get the best water quality, so we are taking a few minutes to outline the new recommendations, how this fits in with the Granite State’s current water crisis, and how you can get PFAS-free water today.

New recommendations for PFAS released

This new and unprecedented recommendation, which will eventually become law, will drop the allowable level of PFAS to 4 parts per trillion or 4ppt, drastically lower than the previous level that was advised, 70 ppt. In their call to cut the current standard of 70 ppt, there are both those who think it is possible and those who do not. Ultimately, we know these chemicals are detrimental to our health, the planet’s health, and the health of our children — and this step will help us get PFAS out of our water supplies.

History of PFAS in the Granite State.

When the 70 ppt levels were established back in 2016, It was right around the time that Merrimack was becoming aware of the perfluorochemical from Saint Gobain that was wreaking havoc in their community and on their health. Many NH citizens have lived in the wake of these dangers, having to drink bottled water or find their own filtration solution. New Hampshire residents are all too familiar that this forever chemical is dangerous, and many have been carrying the torch throughout our state and across activist agencies and government groups.

Thankfully in 2020, New Hampshire did implement its own drinking water standard under the leadership of Governor Sununu, bringing the allowable PFAS level to 12 to 18 parts per trillion, depending on the specific chemical. At that point, we had a much more stringent water regulation than the nation at large.

Since that update, the New Hampshire State legislation and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) have passed more legislation. The latest bill allows those living on well water (not offered a water solution by Saint Gobain) to get a PFAS filtration system paid for by the government subsidies, which NH can provide at no up-front cost to you. This solution has been life-changing for so many people — but there still is the question for those who live on city water and still are exposed to these chemicals.

What are PFAS?

PFAS are a group of chemicals used and produced by various industries to help repel water and oil. From flame retardants to non-stick cookware and fabrics, These chemicals have been added to so many products since their discovery. PFAS exposure is linked to numerous health issues, including cancer, developmental problems, liver damage, and more. In recent years, negative health environmental impacts have become growingly hard to ignore. The EPA’s latest standard is based on the conclusion that we must lower exposure to PFAS to protect public health.

The six chemicals that this new EPA proposal hones in on are —

  • PFOA
  • PFOS
  • GenX
  • PFBS
  • PFNA
  • PFHxS

Part of the document outlines that while individually, these chemicals may not immediately be problematic, the combination of them, which typically occurs in contaminated waters, is, in fact, highly carcinogenic. The new limits will place a cap on the maximum contaminant levels or MCLs as well as a new “hazard index.”

Why the US needs this new standard.

The EPA is working to eliminate the toxicity from our waterways to improve the future health of ourselves and our families. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has estimated that over 200 million Americans “could have PFAS in their tap water.” We need this stringent standard across the board to limit these toxic chemicals for everyone. The government has been aware of how dangerous exposure to these chemicals can be since the 1990s. While It has taken a long time to understand the level of corporate cover-up, misinformation, and generally dangerous actions, everyone is finally waking up to the grave danger and risks of PFAS.

In New Hampshire alone, you can see the constantly updated PFAS map, which shows the growing scale of contamination throughout our communities. There will have to be significant industrial change to limit the exposure of these chemicals throughout the air and water. While it may take a few years for these changes to take effect, it is one great step in the right direction to help stem the disastrous toll this chemical can have on our lives today and future lives.

Impact of the new standard on industries and communities.

This new level, proposed by the White House, is being applauded by environmental groups and water activists. Still, there are some that are raising concerns that lowering the contamination levels is nearly impossible. From governing bodies to businesses, there are a lot of questions surrounding how this lowering can be done. It will be interesting to see how all of this unfolds and what technology they used to accomplish this on a larger scale.

If you would like to hear more about the EPA’s research and decision or would like to comment on their findings, you can attend a virtual public hearing on May 4, 2023. 

The Future for PFAS in New Hampshire.

Governor Chris Sununu said, ​​”Maybe they [water levels] look good on paper, but they’re unreasonable. They’re unattainable in many ways.” While for many municipal water filtration systems, getting the PFAS level this low may be complex, NH Tap has been providing their whole home filtration systems that can get the PFAS level down to undetectable, regardless of the water source. While getting the science to scale for larger city water systems might be difficult, it is not impossible.

Along with the new guidance from the EPA, the government also announced that President Biden and his administration had made $2 billion available in the bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address arising contaminants, including PFAS. This funding will impact communities as they apply for grants — these funds will provide access to safe water for rural to urban communities.

In the coming months and years, we hope to see a shifting landscape when it comes to PFAS, seeing more and more families and businesses getting access to truly clean water.

Enjoy PFAS-free water in NH with NH Tap.

The NH Tap team passionately provides information and the resources our neighbors need to learn about their water and get access to truly clean water. PFAS is not the only carcinogenic chemical that NH homes are facing — and we are on a mission to tackle all the contaminants, helping you have a truly healthy and clean environment.

Our whole-home water filtration systems and PFAS filtration system provide precise filtration media to remove the contaminants in your public water or private well water. We deliver our 5-star service to every client and offer —

  • In-home water testing
  • installation on all of our filtration systems
  • A 5-year warranty (including parts and labor)
  • A lifetime of support

We love to help families acquire peace of mind and delicious, pure water. Contact us today to discuss the steps to PFAS-free water in your NH home or business.

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