The highly toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS have become a highly discussed topic in certain corners of Washington D.C. The controversy began when it was reported by Politico in late January that the EPA would not set a drinking water limit for two toxic chemicals that are currently contaminating millions of Americans' tap water.
The news complicated the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee confirmation hearing for acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who in December had signed off on a chemical management plan not to regulate the pair of PFAS chemicals. A bipartisan group of Senators expressed concern about Wheeler's nomination to lead the EPA on a permanent basis, though the committee ultimately advanced his nomination to the full Senate for consideration.
On Feb. 14, 2019, Wheeler appeared at an event in Philadelphia to announce the EPA's Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Action Plan, which the agency touted as the first-ever comprehensive nationwide action plan to address PFAS and protect public health.
"The PFAS Action Plan is the most comprehensive cross-agency plan to address an emerging chemical of concern ever undertaken by EPA," Wheeler said at the event. "For the first time in agency history, we utilized all of our program offices to construct an all-encompassing plan to help states and local communities address PFAS and protect our nation's drinking water. We are moving forward with several important actions, including the maximum contaminant level process, that will help affected communities better monitor, detect, and address PFAS."
The agency promised both short- and long-term actions that would be taken both to remove PFAS from drinking water and prevent them from entering it in the first place.
Despite the unveiling of its PFAS action plan, the EPA is still in hot water with some high-profile critics, including the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The nonprofit advocacy group dismissed the action plan as a "regurgitation" of steps laid out by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year, but "with no added urgency to meet the outcomes."
The organization also took issue with what it considered to be vague wording in the agency's statement, such as its promise that it is "moving forward" quickly with the Maximum Contaminant Level process and will have a regulatory determination "by the end of the year."
The Union of Concerned Scientists noted that this determination "could mean no regulation at all."
With so much controversy and uncertainty surrounding the regulation of PFAS, the best bet for Americans is to continue using filtration systems that have been certified to lower the levels of PFAS in drinking water. To help your customers make a healthy investment in their drinking water, contact Aqua Finance and learn more about our water treatment financing programs.