New Jersey Scientists Urge State to Curb Another Toxic Chemical in Drinking Water

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If there is anything that concerns many people today, it’s clean drinking water. As a result, more and more people find themselves paying much more attention to the chemicals used to make drinking water safe. This is especially true in New Jersey, where scientists are now urging the state to lessen the amount of a chemical found in the state’s drinking water. According to scientists, prefluorinated chemicals are believed to be linked to higher levels of cancer, developmental problems, and immune system abnormalities. Because of this, they are asking the state’s Drinking Water Quality Institute to impose much stricter limits on these chemicals.

Limit Restrictions

According to scientists, placing strict limits on the amount of these chemicals in drinking water would make the water much safer to drink, and would also limit the exposure to these chemicals people would experience over their lifetime. Based on recommendations, scientists are asking for the DWQI to set a limit of 13 parts per trillion for perfluorooctane sulfonate. If approved, the limit would be the strictest of any state in the nation, and would be in line with New Jersey’s goal to be a leading state in the area of water quality safety.

Maximum Contaminant Limits

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, setting maximum contaminant limits on this chemical would reap a variety of benefits. Along with limiting a person’s exposure over their lifetime, it would also greatly decrease the amount of the chemical that finds its way into soil, ground water, and surface water. While many products such as fabric coatings and nonstick cookware also used these chemicals, they were eventually phased out more than a decade ago.

Lingering Concerns

While the proposed limits are generally thought to be a good idea for making drinking water safer, there are still lingering concerns regarding this and other related chemicals. In New Jersey and other states, the chemicals are used in such applications as firefighting foam, and are also found in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and industrial discharge.

No Federal Regulations

Because these chemicals currently have no federal regulations imposed upon them, New Jersey has decided to attempt these changes in an effort to keep the state’s residents safe. However, while the proposed limits would be the strictest in the nation, there are still many questions about whether the proposed limits are indeed as safe as needed. This is due to evidence pointing to exposure to the chemicals from other sources such as foods, dust, and various consumer products, where the limits of the chemicals are much tougher if not impossible to control.

Young Children At Risk

In New Jersey, researchers believe data suggests young children are at much greater risk of exposure to these chemicals than older individuals. Based on body weight data and hand-to-mouth behavior exhibited by children, researchers believe a greater ingestion of these chemicals take place, putting a much greater strain on the children’s immune systems.

Review Process

While there is no firm idea how much time it will take the DWQI to decide on the recommendations, state researchers hope for a speedy review. The public will have 30 days to comment on the matter, with that deadline possibly extended to 60 days. However, the process is expected to take many months, possibly carrying over into a new political administration.

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