The Biden administration has introduced a new proposal that would set national drinking water limits for harmful substances called “forever chemicals,” according to a report from The Hill.
These toxic chemicals, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), have been detected in waterways across the United States and can cause serious health issues, such as kidney and testicular cancer, and thyroid disease.
They are called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily and can accumulate in the environment and human bodies.
The harmful substances are often found in a variety of waterproof and nonstick products, such as Teflon pans, waterproof apparel, and makeup.
Additionally, PFAS are present in firefighting foam used by the military and industries, which can lead to water pollution.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed limiting the amount of two types of PFAS, PFOA and PFOS, to 4 parts per trillion, in order to safeguard drinking water systems all across the country.
Furthermore, the proposal will also regulate the use of mixtures of four other types of PFAS.
The initiative is an important step to protect the health of Americans, as studies show that more than 83% of waterways in the United States have been contaminated with PFAS, and the blood of 97% of Americans contains these harmful chemicals.
Meanwhile, a new study by researchers at the University of Florida showed that toilet paper worldwide contains PFAS.
The study was published by the Environmental Science & Technology Letters journal and revealed that toilet paper and sewage sludge contain PFAS, with diPAPs, specifically 6:2 fluorotelomer phosphate diester (6:2 diPAP), being the most prevalent compound.
The research team tested 21 popular toilet paper brands sold in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, along with wastewater samples from eight sewage treatment plants in Florida.
According to the researchers, toilet paper accounts for up to 89% of the 6:2 diPAP in wastewater in France, as well as 35% in Sweden.
However, the study indicates that toilet paper contributes only 4% of the compound in wastewaters in Canada and the U.S.