Attorney General Tong Urges EPA to Protect Drinking Water from Toxic Forever Chemicals
(Hartford, CT) – Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, as part of a 22-state coalition filed comments with the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) supporting the agency’s plan to regulate perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), two types of PFAS “forever” chemicals, under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. While supportive of regulating PFOS and PFOA, the states also asked EPA to propose drinking water standards for other PFAS chemicals as well. The standards should reflect current science and protect human health, and EPA should act as quickly as possible.
"Connecticut and our sister states are just beginning to understand the impact these chemicals have had on our environment," said Attorney General Tong. "The EPA has an opportunity to play an important role in regulating these chemicals and we support their plan to do so. The EPA must follow the science and set acceptable drinking water standards that are protective of human health and the environment."
PFAS chemicals resist degradation in the environment and accumulate in the body. Those contaminants may be linked to serious adverse health effects in humans and animals. Human health effects associated with exposure to PFOA may include kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, and preeclampsia; exposure to PFOS is associated with changes in the immune system, liver enzymes, and thyroid hormones, as well as other conditions.
Across the country, PFAS contamination is most often associated with military bases, firefighting training centers, civilian airports, and industrial facilities. PFAS chemicals tend to be persistent in the environment and have been used for decades as ingredients in firefighting foam. Some states with significant PFAS contamination are currently spending tens of millions of dollars to address the contamination in public drinking water systems, and to investigate numerous areas and sources of potential contamination.
The attorneys general state in the letter, “[…] without treatment, PFOA and PFOS contamination will continue to worsen and will persist in drinking water sources indefinitely. Due to the harmful effects of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, swift promulgation of stringent final drinking water standards is crucial to enable EPA to take effective regulatory enforcement actions to address PFAS contamination.”
In addition to Attorney General Tong, attorneys general from the following states signed the letter: California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Colombia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.