Biden administration announces new safety standards for tap water

For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency is requiring water suppliers to test for six manmade chemicals known as PFAS to clean the tap water in the homes of millions nationwide.  

"These chemicals are so toxic that the EPA came out today and said they recommend an exposure limit goal of zero," said Adrienne Esposito who is the Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

PFAS or "forever chemicals" can be found in firefighting foam, industrial discharge, and everyday products that get washed down the drain.

"They have a wide range of health effects, the most notable ones are kidney cancer, testicular cancer also they damage the immune system, the reproductive system, they do thyroid damage, very destructive to the liver and also low birth weight in infants," Esposito said.

While many suppliers have already started filtering out the chemicals, dozens more in the tri-state will have to follow suit. On Long Island, about one million more people will now have access to filtered drinking water without pollution from PFAS.

"The presence of these compounds are pretty ubiquitous," said James Neri, who is the vice president of H2M Architects and Engineers. "It’s all around us, only time will tell its true impacts. This will impact the country. Not just the tristate."

The EPA has $9 billion from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. One billion of that will be used by those with private wells for testing and filtering. As for a timeline, suppliers have five years to comply. Citizens Campaign for the Environment is encouraging New York to do it quicker.

Environmentalists aren’t stopping here. They’re pushing for other legislation to follow to eliminate PFAS found in clothing, food wrappers, and even some furniture.