Your Drinking Water May Contain Toxic Chemicals, Warns EPA – Best Life
In many parts of the world, people take comfort in knowing that the water they drink is likely to be safe. Of course, sometimes there are dangers from various factors like potential contamination, but these are usually accompanied by urgent community advisories, warning residents to boil their water before consuming it. Now all Americans should be aware of a major new alert from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Read on to find out why the agency says your drinking water could contain “surprisingly toxic” chemicals.
READ NEXT: If you’re drinking this popular drink, the FDA has a major new warning for you.
Advisories about the water you drink are nothing new. In 2019, a study published in the journal BMC Infectious Diseases revealed that water fountains in many gymnasiums are contaminated with at least two types of dangerous bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Most recently, in March 2021, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Americans against drinking or cooking with Real Water bottled alkaline water. The warning came after the agency found five cases of non-viral hepatitis – which resulted in acute liver failure – in a handful of infants and young children in Nevada who had all consumed it.
Now the EPA is talking about the dangerous chemicals in the water that many Americans drink. According to the Associated Press (AP), the agency said the presence of two non-stick, warp-resistant compounds in drinking water, called PFOA and PFOS, may be more dangerous than previously thought, even at extremely low levels. The agency said that while many manufacturers have voluntarily removed these toxins, they are part of a larger group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) that still impact consumers.
PFAs are called “eternal chemicals” because they don’t degrade over time, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). “They accumulate in our bodies and never break down in the environment,” the organization explains. “Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, and other diseases.” According to the EWG, at least 200 million people in the United States drink water contaminated with PFAS.
RELATED: For more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
At a recent national PFAS conference in Wilmington, North Carolina, Radhika Fox, deputy administrator of the EPA’s Office of Water, announced that the agency is issuing new nonbinding advisories for safe levels of PFOA and PFOS, the AP reported. According to the outlet, the EPA now sets the health risk threshold for these toxins at near zero, replacing 2016 guidelines that set the threshold at 70 parts per trillion.
These revised guidelines follow new scientific knowledge and take into account people’s exposure to PFAs over their lifetime. An EPA spokesperson told the AP that officials are no longer confident that the levels allowed by the 2016 guidelines “do not have adverse health impacts.”
The agency is expected to reveal its official recommendation for national drinking water regulations for PFOA and PFOS later this year, with the regulations due to be finalized in 2023.
Many environmental and public health groups praise the EPA for its decision. According to the AP, these groups have long urged U.S. officials to take action on PFAS regulations, after thousands of communities detected toxins in their water.
“The science is clear: these chemicals are extremely toxic at extremely low doses,” Erik Olsensenior strategic director for health and food at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the AP. Stel Baileyco-facilitator of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition, added, “The EPA had the courage to follow the science. It is a step in the right direction.
But not everyone is happy with the new reviews. The American Chemistry Council, which represents major chemical companies, told the AP that the agency’s announcement “reflects a failure by the agency to follow its accepted practice to ensure the scientific integrity of its process.” . Even though the current advisories are not legally enforceable, “they will have far-reaching policy implications at the state and federal levels,” the group said. “These new levels cannot be achieved with existing treatment technology and, in fact, are below levels that can be reliably detected using existing EPA methods.”
READ NEXT: Customers Say This Popular Cereal Makes Them Sick.