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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rhode Islanders need better drinking water protection

CLF and Toxics Action Center petition for new drinking water standards in Rhode Island

Image result for pfas in drinking waterConservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Toxics Action Center have filed a petition to push the State of Rhode Island to adopt new drinking water standards that protect the public from the dangers of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).

Without a new standard, public water systems in the state are not required to regularly monitor for PFAS compounds or to treat water with unsafe levels of these toxic substances.

“Toxic chemicals have no place in our drinking water,” said Amy Moses, Vice President and Director of CLF Rhode Island.

“The dangers of PFAS have been known for decades. There are thousands of these harmful substances in our water, and it’s time for the state to step up and put strong rules in place that protect the public.”

The groups are calling on the Department of Health to immediately adopt a drinking water standard to protect Rhode Islanders from five common PFAS chemicals as an interim step to protect public health, and to begin the process of regulating these dangerous substances as a class instead of one by one.

Existing technology can treat unsafe levels of PFAS in drinking water, and the petition requests that the state require public water systems to adopt these solutions.

“Ocean Staters deserve to know that the water coming out of their tap is safe to drink,” said Sofia Owen, Rhode Island Community Organizer with Toxics Action Center. 

“That’s why we’re calling for strong, enforceable drinking water standards that are health protective for infants, children, and our most vulnerable populations throughout Rhode Island.”

PFAS are suspected carcinogens and have been linked to a variety of severe health problems including learning disorders in infants and children, fertility and pregnancy issues, and impaired liver, thyroid, and pancreatic function.

PFAS have been found in public water supplies in Burrillville, Cumberland and Westerly, and in ground water at Naval Station Newport.

CLF has filed petitions in each New England state to protect residents from PFAS. To read more about CLF’s fight to remove PFAS from our water, click here.

You can find the petition here, and the proposed rules here.