Scientists in New Jersey are recommending that the state restrict the use of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOs) in water supplies. The Maximum Contaminant Limit for PFOs would create a limit of 13 parts per trillion (ppt) for the chemical in drinking water, and become the strictest standard set among any other state or federal levels. The Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI) will consider the recommendation that is similar to those drawn up for two other related chemicals, PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). In the past three years, those two chemicals were assigned Maximum Contaminant Limits by the Department of Environmental Protection. Even if this new recommendation is enforced, it is uncertain if the 13 ppt are safe enough to shield the public from the contaminant’s detrimental effects. Within the next few months, and after a thorough evaluation, a decision regarding the restriction will be rendered.
PFOs infiltrate community water supplies, and are linked to cancer, developmental delays in children, and numerous health issues, which could lead to fatalities. Despite the removal of PFOs and other PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) from the production of nonstick cookware, for example, they are still used in firefighting foam and other products.