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Attorney General Josh Stein Calls for Stronger Monitoring of Forever Chemicals

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today filed comments supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to include 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS or “forever” chemicals, in the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5). The rule would require public water systems to monitor for these PFAS and help provide more information about PFAS contamination in public water supplies around the country.

“In North Carolina, we’ve seen firsthand the harmful effects of PFAS contamination on our state’s water supplies and people’s health,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’ve fought and won protections for our health and our natural resources, but we need to do more to protect people from these dangerous chemicals. I support these additional protections to monitor public water supplies to help ensure every person has access to clean drinking water.”

PFAS, including GenX, are man-made chemicals used for the manufacture of nonstick coatings, fire suppression foams, and other industrial and commercial products. They resist degradation in the environment and accumulate in the body. Exposure to PFAS may be linked to serious adverse health effects including cancer, impaired development of fetuses, immune system complications, and impaired kidney functions.

Attorney General Stein and 18 other attorneys general also asked the EPA to:

  • Require monitoring for total PFAS.
  • Promptly validate an analytical method for total PFAS.
  • Advance environmental justice with PFAS monitoring.
  • Lower the minimum reporting levels for the PFAS in UCMR 5.

In August, Attorney General Stein launched a formal investigation into those responsible for PFAS contamination in North Carolina. In October, he brought his first lawsuit as part of this investigation, suing DuPont, Chemours, and other companies for the damage that PFAS chemicals have caused to North Carolina’s natural resources in the Cape Fear region. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, represented by Attorney General Stein, previously reached a settlement with Chemours over PFAS contamination that requires Chemours to take steps to practically eliminate water discharge and air emissions at the plant.

Attorney General Stein is joined in submitting these comments by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the comment letter is available here.

More from Attorney General Stein on this issue:

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