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PA Department of Environmental Protection: Regulate PFOA & PFOS in Drinking Water

This petition had 2,092 supporters

We, the people of Bucks County and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania have recently been informed that chemicals PFOA and PFOS are present in our drinking water. These chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic. The evidence indicates that PFOA and PFOS are carcinogenic, immunotoxins, and can lead to various health issues.

This contamination has been caused by firefighting foam used by the Navy and other branches of the Armed Forces. We understand that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set a combined Health Advisory Limit (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, which is not an enforceable standard. However, we believe that this level is too high, as any amount of toxic contaminants in our water supply – the resource upon which all life depends – is too much.

The technological ability to lower the levels of these contaminants in the water supply exists. Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filters can lower levels of PFOA & PFOS in water with >90% effectiveness, generally to non-detectable levels. “Non-detectable” varies based on the sensitivity of the test, but can be as low as <2ppt.

The Pennsylvania Constitution enshrines the right to pure water (Article 1, Section 27); the UN has declared that clean drinking water is a human right. We hold this right dear and expect that everything possible be done to honor that right.

We know that the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP), through the Environmental Quality Board (EQB), has the authority to set enforceable safe drinking water standards (or Maximum Contaminant Levels, MCLs) for these contaminants in the water in our state, which would require the removal of these contaminants from our drinking water. Several other states, including Vermont and our neighbor, New Jersey, have set their own HALs and/or are moving towards setting MCLs.

PA State Representatives Todd Stephens and Tom Murt, who represent many residents in Montgomery County, have requested that the PA DEP set an MCL of non-detectable for PFOA & PFOS. We support their request.

We therefore ask for the PA DEP to set an MCL of non-detectable, or <2 ppt, for PFOA & PFOS in Pennsylvania’s drinking water.

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