Arizona joins coalition backing EPA’s drinking water standards proposal

Jun 2, 2023, 4:00 PM

(Pexels photo)...

(Pexels photo)

(Pexels photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes joined a 17-state coalition calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to finalize its drinking water standards proposal announced in March.

The proposal would require public water systems to monitor for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and set maximum contaminant levels and goals.

The coalition — including attorneys general from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia — filed comments to the EPA on Wednesday supporting the proposal.

“The states have a significant interest in ensuring that their residents have access to safe drinking water, and many have taken action to set their own drinking water standards for various PFAS,” the letter said.

“We strongly support EPA’s proposed action to set national standards to protect the public from the harmful health impacts of PFAS in drinking water and offer the following comments for the agency’s consideration as it proceeds in this important effort.”

PFAS are synthetic chemicals resistant to degradation used in textiles, non-stick cookware, firefighting foam and food packaging.

The substances are found in the blood of most Americans and can cause serious health complications, according to the Food and and Drug Administration.

They are often found at military bases, firefighting training centers, civilian airports and industrial facilities, the letter said.

The max contaminant levels and goals would apply to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), ammonium salt (GenX), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).

The coalition urged the EPA to make technical and engineering resources available to public water systems, finalize the drinking water standards quickly and consider drinking water standards for other PFAS after finalizing the rule.

“EPA’s proposal to establish a national standard for PFAS in drinking water is informed by the best available science and would help provide states with the guidance they need to make decisions that best protect their communities,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a press release sent in March.

“This action has the potential to prevent tens of thousands of PFAS-related illnesses and marks a major step toward safeguarding all our communities from these dangerous contaminants.”

Mayes recently filed a lawsuit against manufacturers of products that contain PFAS, joining several states and hundreds of cities around the U.S. seeking damages.

On Friday, chemical companies DuPont de Nemours Inc., The Chemours Co. and Corteva Inc. said they had reached a $1.18 billion deal to resolve complaints of polluting many U.S. drinking water systems.

The agreement would settle a case that was scheduled for trial Monday involving a claim by Stuart, Florida, one of about 300 communities that have filed similar suits since 2018 against companies that produced firefighting foam or the PFAS it contained.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Arizona joins coalition backing EPA’s drinking water standards proposal