EPA releases new drinking water health advisory for PFOA

The United States Environmental Protection Agency released a new lifetime drinking water health advisory for the perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA.

The agency issued an advisory of 70 parts per trillion for human exposure in drinking water to the manmade chemical, PFOA. Officials said that six public water systems in New York state have detected the PFOA in excess of the newly set guidelines. The new guidance comes at a time when health and environmental officials in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire are struggling to ensure safe drinking water supply as elevated levels of PFOA was detected in public water systems and private wells.

Experts said that the contamination is linked to factories that used PFOA in their manufacturing processes and some of them have been used decades earlier. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has declared that plastics company, Taconic in Petersburgh will be designated as a state Superfund site after the factory was linked to PFOA contamination of local water supplies.

The state had also declared the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant in the village of Hoosick Falls was declared a state Superfund site in January. The designation of a site as a state Superfund site allows the state to investigate the extent of the water contamination and to begin remediation immediately.

Joel Beauvais, deputy assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Water, said, "Where these chemicals are detected above the advisory levels, we're recommending the water system operators go back and do confirmatory testing. We're also recommending that systems promptly provide notice to residents and users of water systems."