Home News Chemical makers sue against rules to remove ‘forever chemicals’ from water

Chemical makers sue against rules to remove ‘forever chemicals’ from water

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Chemical and manufacturing groups filed a lawsuit Monday evening against the federal government over a landmark drinking water standard that requires the removal of so-called forever chemicals linked to cancer and other health risks.

Industry groups say the administration is exceeding its authority under the Safe Drinking Water Act by requiring municipal water systems to almost completely remove six synthetic chemicals, known as PFAS, from the taps of hundreds of millions of Americans.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the new standards Implemented in Aprilwill prevent thousands of deaths and reduce tens of thousands of serious illnesses.

The EPA’s cleanup standards are also expected to set off a wave of lawsuits against chemical manufacturers by water utilities across the country seeking to recoup their cleanup costs. Water utilities have also challenged the strict new standards, questioning the science behind them and pointing to the high cost of filtering toxic chemicals from drinking water.

The American Chemistry Council and the National Association of Manufacturers said in a joint filing late Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that the EPA’s rule is “arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion.”

In a separate petition, the American Water Works Association and the Metropolitan Water Agencies Association said the EPA “significantly underestimated the cost of the rule.” They said ratepayers could end up footing the bill in the form of higher water rates.

PFAS are a class of chemicals, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, that are widespread in the environment. They are commonly found in human blood, and a 2023 government study of private wells and public water supplies detected PFAS chemicals. Nearly half of the tap water in the country.

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to developmental delays in children, reduced fertility in women, and an increased risk of certain cancers. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In a public speech before Monday’s filing, Brenda Mallory, chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, defended the Biden administration’s strict standards. Everyone should be able to turn on the tap and know that the water they are getting is safe to drink,” she said.

At the same event, EPA officials said the new standards were based on the best available science and were designed to be “robust enough to withstand litigation.”

The EPA estimates that complying with the rule will cost water utilities about $1.5 billion a year, but utilities say the actual cost could be twice that amount. State and local governments have Successfully prosecuted some PFAS manufacturers for contaminating drinking water supplies,

President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in 2021 allocated $9 billion to help communities address PFAS contamination. The EPA said $1 billion of that money will be used to help states with initial testing and treatment.

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