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The US finalizes rules for ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water

Pipes for a filtration system, with a label that says “filtered water.”
Part of a filtration system designed to filter out PFAS forever chemicals from the drinking water supply at Well #2 of the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority facility in Horsham, Pennsylvania, on August 22nd, 2019. | Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized rules for the amount of certain “forever chemicals” allowed in drinking water. This is the first time the US has placed legally enforceable federal limits on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals so ubiquitous that they’ve likely already made their way into most Americans’ bloodstreams.

There are thousands of different kinds of PFAS used to make products resistant to water, stains, and heat. Before potential health risks came to light, these chemicals became staple ingredients in everything from nonstick pans, food packaging, fire-fighting foams, and fabric protector to dental floss and menstrual products. The chemicals’ hallmark hardiness also means that they…

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