(WKBN) – There is a lot of talk lately about forever chemicals and how much we are actually being exposed to them.

Some of your favorite beverages are under fire and now drinking water. The U.S. EPA is addressing the concern and is looking to roll out new rules about PFAS in 2024.

What is being called forever chemicals are PFAS. They are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and products for decades. Some products include nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, carpets, cosmetics, and products that resist grease, water and oil, to name a few.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, The most commonly studied PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The next most commonly studied are perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). PFOA and PFOS have been phased out of production and use in the United States, but other countries may still manufacture and use them. 

Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS may be linked to harmful health effects.

The U.S. EPA on Tuesday released its Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) Proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR). For the first time, the rule includes maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFOS.

The rule is complicated because it includes both enforceable and non-enforceable level goals. The rule is expected to be finalized by the end of 2023 or early 2024. When it will go into effect will be decided later.

PFAS have been on Ohio EPA’s radar for a while. It conducted tests in Ohio in 2021 to gauge how much of a problem they are in the state. Officials sampled 1,512 water treatment plants in Ohio. None in the Valley tested above action levels. Two in Trumbull County tested “below action level” but didn’t have no detection. One was in Newton Falls and the other was part of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District Meander Creek in Trumbull County.

In all of Ohio, no water system tested “above action level.”

Those at the Ohio EPA said they know about the new rules coming from the U.S. EPA and have said that they will continue to provide educational resources to Ohioans to help them make decisions about their drinking water.

If you are concerned about potential health effects from exposure to these PFAS above the proposed NDWR, Ohio encourages you to contact your doctor or health care professional.  For more specific information, see the EPA Proposed PFAS National Primary Drinking Water Regulation.

Here is a look at the proposed limits: (The MCLG is the maximum level of a contaminant in drinking water at which no known or anticipated adverse health effects would occur, allowing an adequate margin of safety. The enforceable MCL standard is set as close as feasible to MCLG. EPA considers the ability to measure and treat a contaminant as well as the costs and benefits in setting the MCL.)

  • Proposed MCL (MCLG) for PFOA = 4.0 ppt (0 ppt)
  • Proposed MCL (MCLG) for PFOS = 4.0 ppt (0 ppt)
  • Hazard Index Calculation for HFPO-DA (GenX), PFBS, PFHxS, PFNA = 1.0 (unitless)