WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release new PFAS drinking water standards in a matter of weeks, but advocates say the Biden administration needs to pick up the pace.
PFAS, a class of man-made chemicals that has been found in a number of products including Teflon, Scotchgard and firefighting foam, has been linked to certain cancers. It has been found contaminating drinking water and soil.
“PFAS is an urgent public health crisis,” Melanie Benesh of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization, said.
She praised the EPA for working to protect people.
“The EPA has known about this for 20 years,” Benesh said. “The EPA has followed the science. … The science has shown these chemicals are toxic.”
But she’s concerned the White House is still delaying much-needed action.
“It has been sitting with Office of Management and Budget for now more than 100 days,” she said. “The Biden White House really needs to release that rule.”
She said the administration is already behind on several of its deadlines to tackle PFAS contamination, including standards to crack down on polluters.
“This is how PFAS gets into drinking water, it’s how PFAS can get into wastewater treatment facilities,” Benesh said. “It’s really important to turn off the tap on those facilities.”
The EPA insists it is making progress and following its PFAS strategic road map, which was launched in 2021. It says it is not only pushing a new drinking water standard but also requiring companies to test for PFAS in drinking water. It has also distributed $10 billion to help communities clean up.
But the roadmap only runs through 2024.
“After 2024, we don’t know what the EPA’s commitment is and so the EPA really needs to follow through,” Benesh said.