New York sets drinking water standards

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The State Department of Health is putting drinking water standards in place for three chemicals that have been detected in New York. 

When we drink from the tap, we expect our water to be safe.

The DOH is creating new maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane.

“They would be the lowest levels for PFOA and PFOS in the nation and they’d be the first ever level in the nation for 1,4-dioxane,” Brad Hutton, NYS DOH Deputy Commissioner of Public Health, said.

Chemicals PFOA and PFOS were previously used in consumer products.

“Things like Scotchgard on carpets, coating inside pizza boxes, or popcorn bags also used in fire fighting foams and unfortunately they’re pretty persistent in the environment and so they stay in ground water for long periods of time.”

Hutton says 1,4-dioxane is a stabilizer used in manufacturing.

“Unfortunately, until recently, they weren’t detectable at the levels that they are, and we’ve learned a lot about these chemicals and that they actually can cause health effects at some point as well in humans.”

The Department of Health is kicking off a public comment period on the issue that will last 60 days before they finalize regulations.

Once that happens, certain public water systems will  need to test for the three contaminants, and action can be taken to lower exposure .

NYPIRG Environmental Policy Director Elizabeth Moran says it’s an important first step.

 “PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4-dioxane are just three of a number of emerging contaminants that have been detected in water systems in water systems in New York State. We need to start looking at those other contaminants,” Elizabeth Moran, NYPIRG Environmental Policy Director, said.

The state will also be putting $350 million towards water system improvements.

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