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NY proposes limits on PFOA, PFOS

Riverkeeper statement on Department of Health’s proposed standards for drinking water


Riverkeeper commends the New York State Department of Health for proposing to set drinking water standards, or “maximum contaminant levels” (MCLs) for the toxic chemicals PFOA and PFOS. If adopted, New York’s proposed MCLs of 10 ppt for each would be the most stringent limits in the nation for PFOA and PFOS individually. However, the MCLs may still fail to protect the most vulnerable populations from these harmful effects of these contaminants.

PFOA and PFOS are merely two of the 4,500 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that have been manufactured, used, and, too often, released into the environment causing harm to people and wildlife. NRDC’s recent peer-reviewed assessment of PFAS in drinking water suggests that the Health Department’s goal should be zero exposure to those contaminants, and that a combined MCL of 2 ppt – which is feasible based on current detection and treatment technologies – would be appropriate.

In order to protect New Yorkers from these toxic chemicals, we urge the department to move toward regulating PFAS as a class – beginning with a combined MCL for PFOA and PFOS – at levels consistent with the most recent science.

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