Acceptable levels of “forever chemicals” in drinking water should be reduced tenfold and a new national chemicals agency created to protect public health, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has told the UK government. From a report: The chartered body wants to see a reduction in the cap on levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in tap water. PFAS are a family of about 10,000 widely used chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. Some have been linked to cancers, liver and thyroid disease, immune and fertility problems, and developmental defects in unborn children.
The current limit in UK drinking water, which is a guideline and not a statutory cap, is 100 nanograms a litre for individual PFAS. The RSC wants this reduced to 10ng/l and a new overall limit introduced of 100ng/l for a wider range of PFAS in drinking water. “In the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s (DWI) own words, levels above 10ng/l pose a medium or high risk to public health,” said Stephanie Metzger, a policy adviser at the RSC. “We’re seeing more studies that link PFAS to a range of very serious medical conditions, and so we urgently need a new approach for the sake of public health.”