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Activists Ask New England States To Regulate PFAS Chemicals As A Class


Drinking water activists want the New England states to try a new way of regulating PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

The Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation and local nonprofits want all six New England states to find a way to more aggressively regulate PFAS chemicals.

In formal petitions to regulators, they suggest doing that by agreeing on a method of treatment that would cover as many PFAS chemicals as possible – rather than regulating them one by one, as states are currently doing.

The PFAS class includes more than 3,000 industrial chemicals that may cause serious human health problems.

The chemicals have contaminated drinking water in several New England towns – and CLF's New Hampshire director Tom Irwin says federal regulators aren't responding fast enough.

"We do think that there's a real opportunity for states to collaborate, as opposed to having each state try to invent a new wheel on their own,” Irwin says.

New Hampshire regulators say they could consider the petition as part of public input on new limits for four PFAS chemicals. Those are due out Jan. 1.

CLF has filed similar petitions with Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and expects to do the same in Maine and Rhode Island within the next few weeks. 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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