New Jersey urged to impose tougher standard on chemical in drinking water

(ElenaTheWise/Bigstock)

(ElenaTheWise/Bigstock)

New Jersey could become a national leader in regulating a toxic chemical in drinking water — if the Department of Environmental Protection follows the advice of a scientific panel.

PFOA, once used to coat nonstick pans and in clothing, can cause serious health problems. It has been detected in the systems supplying water to more than 1 million New Jersey residents.

Tracy Carluccio, the deputy director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, said adopting the tough new limit proposed by the Drinking Water Quality Institute would be a big step toward removing toxins from the water supply.

“The public has screamed for this over the last many years and — now that, nationally, the problem has been recognized as being more widespread because of the use of firefighting foams at so many military bases — many people in the United States have become aware of this toxic compound in their water,” she said.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel said he is concerned that it might take a year to go through the rule-making process for implementing the tougher standards.

“We think that the administration should, if they move forward with the standard, they need to do an emergency ruling and adopt within 90 days so we can make sure we can remove PFOA or Teflon from their drinking water as soon as we can,” he said.

Any expense for water companies to install filtration systems would be more than offset by savings in health care costs, Tittel said.

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