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New York takes action to remove PFAS from water, products

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

The state of New York is removing forever chemicals from various places, just as the Environmental Protection Agency issued limits on PFAS in drinking water.

In the state of New York, 548 public water systems exceed federal standards based on the new limits.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizen Campaign for the Environment, said New York needs to expand PFAS testing capacity.

“We have to have more certified laboratories that have the equipment to test for PFAS chemicals and the trained chemists,” Esposito urged. “We need to continue to have funding from the state to provide to the water suppliers in the form of grants to pay for the treatment technology.”

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The EPA estimates it will cost more than $1 billion annually for the nation’s public drinking water systems to comply with the new limits. The Biden administration is making $1 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding available for states and territories to clean PFAS out of drinking water.

Drinking water is not the only place where PFAS are found. Products ranging from cosmetics to nonstick cookware contain the chemicals. Legislation has been introduced to address it.

Kate Donovan, Northeast regional environmental health lead for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said New York can use federal standards to rein in PFAS.

“The federal standards are the most protective in the country and more protective than New York State’s themselves, so that is a great baseline to be working from,” Donovan asserted. “But really New York needs to start focusing on getting rid of the nonessential uses of PFAS and that starts with limiting the manufacturing of PFAS in products.”

Other states have large amounts of forever chemicals in their waterways. The United Nations declared forever chemicals in North Carolina a human rights violation since the chemicals proliferated in local drinking water.