Environmental Protection Agency to Set New Standard on “Forever Chemicals”

ROSEMONT, Ill., April 24, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal calling for the first ever national drinking water standards for “forever chemicals” could have a significant impact on the safety of the nation’s water supply. The plan, which is expected to be finalized later this year and likely takes effect in 2026, includes the first set of new chemical standards since the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1996.

The planned standards call for limiting the amount of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS or “forever chemicals,” thus called because they do not degrade in the environment), in water. PFAS have been linked to serious health problems. The proposal will regulate two chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, at 4 parts per trillion (ppt). For PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and GenX chemicals, the EPA proposes not one standard for each but a limit for a mix of them. This extremely low level is about at the detection level capability of current technology.

The chemicals have been widely used since the 1940s and can be found in several household items, such as water-repellent clothes, furniture, carpets, nonstick pans, paints, cosmetics, cleaning products, food packaging, and in some firefighting foams. The chemicals can primarily settle in the blood, kidney, and liver, and exposure can lead to cancer, obesity, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, decreased fertility, liver damage, and hormone suppression, according to the EPA.

Since the proposal will not take effect for three years, Culligan International is offering Americans recommendations and tips that can enhance the overall safety of their drinking water today.

“As the leader in providing water solutions to improve the lives of the public, we’re encouraged that the EPA is taking preliminary steps to develop regulation for this health threat,” said Judd Larned, President of Culligan Water. “However, it will take several years to finalize and put the new regulation into effect. Until then, Culligan is one of a handful of companies who offer water treatment products that mitigate PFOA/PFOS.”

There are other ways homeowners can improve the quality of their drinking water.

Culligan’s recommendations include:

  1. Know where water contamination can occur. Water impurities are not just limited to the water source. Contamination can also happen in the distribution system after treatment from the local municipality or private well has already occurred. While many naturally occurring chemicals and impurities from local water treatment can be filtered at the source, contamination can occur in service pipes. These issues are commonly found in homes built prior to 1986 when lead pipes, fixtures and solder were regularly used. The best place to filter drinking water is at the point of use or your home’s tap.

  2. Consider upgrading the filtration system currently in place at your home. After reviewing your current system, you may want to consider upgrading it. While there are many options, Culligan offers a groundbreaking system, the Aquasential® Smart Reverse Osmosis (RO) system, regarded as the “World’s Most Efficient*” RO Drinking Water System. With up to seven stages of filtration and 14 different filter options, it is certified for the reduction of 59 contaminants which include lead, arsenic, pharmaceuticals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and PFOA/PFOS.

    “The Culligan Aquasential Smart RO and Aquasential RO, when used with our Total Defense or Total Defense + Mineral Cartridge, are tested and certified by an accredited 3rd party laboratory to NSF/ANSI 53 to reduce PFOA and PFOS in water,” said Chia Kung, Global Product Lead, Drinking Water Solutions.

  3. Notice any issues that may be caused by water impurities. Some signs of problem water include corroded plumbing fixtures, black or brown discoloration in sinks/tubs/toilets, unpleasant odors, disagreeable taste, discolored water, and even shortened appliance lifespan. It is important to note that some water contaminants cannot be detected by taste, odor, or color. In these cases, only a water test can identify an issue.

  4. Schedule a test to identify impurities in your water. Water contamination can happen at any time, so it is important to have your water tested by a water expert who can offer solutions to bring your water to meet safe drinking water regulations as set forth by the EPA. A basic water test from your local Culligan water expert is free and easy. It can detect impurities such as nitrates, hardness, and total dissolved solids that are odorless and tasteless. A water sample taken straight from the tap can typically provide results in 10 minutes. If indicated by the on-site home analysis, Culligan can provide a more detailed water analysis in its IL EPA-certified testing laboratory. Your Culligan professional can provide you with the details.

    While testing can be done at any time, Culligan recommends scheduling a water test after moving into a new house, if water-using appliances are showing signs of hard water scale buildup, or if there is a noticeable change to your water’s taste, odor, or appearance. Well water should also be tested whenever changes in your water, such as color, taste, odor, or cloudiness, are noticed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it is recommended to test well water annually to ensure it does not contain harmful contaminants.

  5. Ensure your current water filtration system is up to date. If your home already has a water filtration system, it is important to continue the ongoing maintenance required. This includes scheduling filter replacements as needed.

For more information about Culligan water treatment products, including water softeners, drinking water systems, whole-house systems, and solutions for business, or to find your local Culligan representative, visit www.culligan.com.
*Efficiency is based on 3rd party testing to NSF standards.
**Testing was performed under standard laboratory conditions; actual performance may vary.

About Culligan International
Founded in 1936, Culligan makes a real difference to people and to the planet by providing clean, sustainable, great-tasting water and reducing reliance on single-use plastic. Culligan is one of the world’s most recognized and trusted names in water, a reputation built through a legacy of trust, innovation, service, and quality. The Culligan master brand covers a family of iconic brands and innovative technologies that include Quench, Blupura, Zip Water, Purezza Premium Water and Firewall® UVC purification and that share a mission of bringing better water to consumers anywhere they need it – in the home, at work, at leisure or on-the-go. For more information, visit www.corporate.culligan.com.

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