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New Jersey Is First State to Set Formal Drinking Water Contamination Standards for PFOA
New Jersey Is First State to Set Formal Drinking Water Contamination Standards for PFOA

Earlier this month, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Bob Martin announced that the agency has set drinking water contamination standards for perfluorooctoanic acid (PFOA) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), making New Jersey the first state to set formal maximum contaminant levels requiring statewide testing of public drinking water systems for these two contaminants. PFOA and PFNA are believed to impact liver and immune system function, increase blood cholesterol levels, and cause delays in growth and development of fetuses and infants; they may also increase the risk of certain cancers. PFOA, PFNA and related compounds are used in nonstick coatings, stain-resistant fabrics, fire-fighting foam and industrial processes.

The NJDEP’s adoption of these standards was done at the recommendation of the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute. After reviewing state monitoring data, the Institute had concluded that PFOA was found in approximately 60%-80% of New Jersey Public Water Supplies tested. The widespread nature of PFOA and related compounds has already sparked class action lawsuits throughout the country.

The adopted standard for PFOA is 14 ppt and 13 ppt for PFNA. The adoption of these formal standards will require water companies and utilities to routinely monitor supplies and take needed corrective actions to alleviate exceedances. The adoption may also increase visibility of facilities associated with PFOA contamination. Although a specific effective date has not yet been set, the standards are expected to go into effect in about one year.

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