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EPA, Department of Defense, White House Conspired to Put Clamps on Release of PFAS Safety Limits for Drinking Water, Says Union of Concerned Scientists

EPA, Department of Defense, White House Conspired to Put Clamps on Release of PFAS Safety Limits for Drinking Water, Says Union of Concerned Scientists | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

Newly released emails appear to show EPA, DOD, and White House officials putting the clamps on PFAS safety limits lower than what the EPA has set forth.

 

Newly released emails appear to show EPA, DOD, and White House officials putting the clamps on PFAS safety limits lower than what the EPA has set forth.

 

In May 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency dropped a bombshell, setting new recommended limits for perfluorinated chemicals, also known as PFAS, in drinking water. The new safety level was as much as eight times lower than the amount considered safe just the day before.

 

The change meant millions of Americans were then drinking water with unsafe amounts of the chemicals, including tens of thousands of Bucks and Montgomery County residents. Local water authorities immediately closed public drinking water supply wells impacted by the chemicals, adding to those already closed two years prior based on the old limits.

 

But new emails obtained by the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists, along with reporting from specialty news publication InsideEPA, show the concern about how much of the chemicals can be safely consumed didn’t stop there. Instead, they show the EPA took part in an apparent effort earlier this year, along with the White House and Department of Defense, to stop another federal agency from releasing health limits far lower than what the EPA used in May 2016. The agency in question is the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, or ATSDR.

 

“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these new numbers is going to be huge,” one email stated. “We (DoD and EPA) cannot get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

 

The “nightmare” is this: After studying the chemicals for years, the ATSDR drafted limits on how much of several of the most common PFAS chemicals are safe for humans to consume. For PFOS, their proposed level was 10 times lower than the dosage the EPA created. For PFOA, it was approximately seven times lower. As the EPA’s current limit for both chemicals is approximately 70 ppt combined, a drinking water limit for the chemicals based on the ATSDR’s analysis would likely fall into the single digits or low teens of parts per trillion.

 

The ATSDR has yet to release its draft limits publicly, but the levels were obtained and reported by InsideEPA, which is a subscription-only service.

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Newtown News of Interest
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