“The New York State Department of Health has taken the final step to establish drinking water standards for three toxic chemicals that have polluted water in communities across the state. In doing so, New York leads the nation with some of the most stringent drinking water protections for PFOA and PFOS (part of a broader class of PFAS chemicals), and the only drinking water standard for 1,4-dioxane” (source).
Why is this a milestone?
- PFOA is a carcinogen, a liver toxicant, a developmental toxicant, and an immune system toxicant, and also exerts hormonal effects including alteration of thyroid hormone levels. Animal studies show developmental toxicity from reduced birth size, physical developmental delays, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality (source).
- In animal studies PFOS can cause cancer, delays in physical development, stunted growth, endocrine disruption, and neonatal mortality (source). PFOS levels in pregnant women have been associated with preeclampsia (source). Increased levels have been associated with altered thyroid hormone levels in adults (source) and an increased risk of elevated cholesterol (source). Levels in US children aged 12–15 were associated with an increased risk (60% over the interquartile range) of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (source).
- 1,4-dioxane is known to affect the liver and kidneys when exposed long-term, and has been established by the EPA as “most likely carcinogenic to humans” (source).
“These new standards, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), will require all water systems in New York to test for these harmful chemicals and remove them from drinking water when the MCLs are exceeded. Small water systems serving more than 2 million New Yorkers have never been required to test for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane… until now” (source).
Read this article from Environmental Advocates New York to learn more.