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New Yorkers await toxic chemical testing

It’s unclear just when New York will move ahead with ambitious plans that were announced last year to test public water systems for three industrial chemicals.

State regulators have been working to require public water systems to test for and clean up three contaminants linked with long-term health risks such as severe kidney and liver damage.

New York is poised to join a handful of Northeast states that – frustrated with a lack of federal standards – are moving forward with their own drinking water limits for industrial chemicals found in paint strippers, stain resistant clothing, nonstick products and firefighting foams. New York would become the first state to set a limit for 1,4-dioxane, a synthetic chemical found in inks, adhesives and household products such as shampoos that’s considered likely to cause cancer in humans.

The state’s largest water suppliers have already begun testing and treating their water for the chemicals. But it’s unclear just when all New Yorkers will know whether their drinking water has elevated levels of such pollutants.

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