The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released drinking water health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We strongly believe that the EPA must issue drinking water health advisories and regulations that align with the Safe Drinking Water Act and are based on the best science to address the greatest risks to public health.
The interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS were issued before the EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) PFAS Panel completed the full review of the toxicity assessments. As a result, the PFOA and PFOS advisory levels are premature and not yet fully substantiated. In rushing its own process, the EPA’s actions run the risk of misleading the public and misallocating limited resources that could be better spent addressing more pressing drinking water risks. Our nation’s drinking water funding must continue to be directed to the areas of greatest public health concern. Communities with high levels of PFOA/PFOS contamination in their drinking water must be immediately addressed, and we commend the EPA for issuing state-specific Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding to address those communities in need.
However, these extremely low health advisory levels are based on limited science and will impact drinking water utilities across the nation, even where PFOA/PFOS may not be a public health concern. With limited financial resources, water utilities must prioritize and address the greatest risks to public health. We urge the EPA to provide clear and actionable direction to water utilities and consider a cost-benefit and risk analysis when determining PFAS regulations.
We will continue to monitor the findings of the EPA’s SAB PFAS Panel review and are committed to providing science-based information to protect public health. Learn more about PFAS on our website resources page: www.wateradvisory.org/pfas