Before you pick up that water glass, did you know that there are no federal regulations on levels of toxic per-fluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in our tap water? The Environmental Protection Agency also does not regulate these chemicals in our water systems.
Fast Company reports that after his father passed away due to cancer, Michael Hickey from Hoosick Falls, New York had his tap water tested by a lab in Canada in 2014. Hickey was under the impression that his town’s drinking water was unsafe to drink and had a hand in his father’s illness. Since Hoosick Falls is such a small town and the EPA doesn’t test its water, he took matters into his own hands. The results showed that Hickey was right.
Perfluorooctanioc acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) were found in Hickey’s sample. These are types of PFCs that are unsafe for consumption.
The Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University in Boston have created an interactive map that will will show where the EPA has found toxic chemicals in tap water. The map shows that 15 million people in 27 states are drinking from polluted taps. Bill Walker, a senior scientist at EWG, tells Fast Company that attention from the White House on this matter is unlikely since cuts to EPA funding are in the works.
Moves on the state level have been made, however. Minnesota, New Jersey and Vermont have currently either set or proposed limits on PFC amounts. In March, New York Senators Chuck Shumer and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation that would require the EPA to limit allowable levels of PFCs in drinking water.