Over 100 groups press Biden administration to set ‘forever chemicals’ drinking water standards without further delay

WASHINGTON – More than 100 community and environmental organizations, including the Environmental Working Group, today urged the Biden administration to swiftly propose standards to protect drinking water from the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

The standards, promised last year, have thus far been delayed. The administration committed to proposing enforceable drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS, two widespread and harmful PFAS, by fall 2022. 

The Environmental Protection Agency sent the proposal for mandatory White House Office of Management and Budget review on October 6, 2022. But the proposal still has not been released to the public.

The coalition in a January 19th letter urged top administration officials to release the Safe Drinking Water, or SDWA, standards “without further delay.”

The group sent the letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory and OMB Director Shalanda Young.

EWG estimates more than 200 million Americans are drinking PFAS-contaminated water. The chemicals are toxic at very low levels and have been linked to serious health problems, including increased risk of cancer and harm to the reproductive and immune systems. They are used in water-, grease- and stain-repellent coatings for a vast array of consumer goods and industrial applications. 

Further delay in setting protective standards for PFOA and PFOS is unwarranted and unacceptable,” said John Reeder, EWG vice president for federal affairs. 

“These ‘forever chemicals’ have circulated in the environment for decades, and the EPA’s own assessments show they are toxic at very low levels,” he added. “Safe Drinking Water Act standards are a crucial line of defense against PFAS exposure.”  

The SDWA was last updated in 1996, and progress on regulating pollutants has stalled instead of keeping up with current science. The last time EPA set a legal limit for a new drinking water pollutant was in 2000.

The letter urges the EPA to look beyond regulating PFOA and PFOS alone and to consider regulating the full class of PFAS that may be found in tap water. “Technologies are available to effectively reduce PFAS and improve drinking water safety,” the letter states.

Advocates acknowledge Biden administration efforts to tackle PFAS. But, they say, “the delay in proposing SDWA standards for PFAS leaves millions of people at risk and threatens to derail the President’s promise to protect our nation’s drinking water for all Americans.”


The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.


Areas of Focus
Disqus Comments

Related News

Continue Reading