Massachusetts Issues New PFAS Regulations

Commits to testing and treatment of six toxic forever chemicals in water

PFAS chemicals threaten drinking water

September 24, 2020 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement today after Massachusetts officials announced new regulations to tackle toxic chemicals in water. PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) are dangerous to human health and have been found in water supplies across Massachusetts.

“The public absolutely has a right to know if their drinking water is safe,” said Brad Campbell, President of CLF. “These new standards are a major advance in safeguarding our water from toxic PFAS. The provision for three-year reviews will further protect us and will ensure that these critical standards keep pace with the growing body of science on PFAS toxicity.”

Today’s rules are the result of a petition filed by CLF, Clean Water Action, and Community Action Works. CLF has been pushing for greater regulation of PFAS in every New England state, and more details about that effort can be found here

“Under our broken chemical regulatory system, chemicals are innocent until proven guilty. Unless we change the way things work, the six chemicals now regulated in Massachusetts can just be replaced with something just as bad or worse,” said Shaina Kasper, Water Program Director at Community Action Works, formerly known as Toxics Action Center. “Communities deserve information on all the toxic chemicals that could be in our drinking water, not just these six PFAS chemicals. That’s why these regulations requiring transparency of all PFAS chemicals tested is so important.”

PFAS are widely used in a variety of household products and are called forever chemicals because they never fully break down in the environment. The rules announced today will place Massachusetts as a leader in regulating PFAS. They will ensure that the public is protected from six known PFAS, and commits the state to continue to update its regulation of these toxic substances.

“Too often, questions of public health are intertwined with financial limitations. Chemical companies are able to make billions of dollars releasing toxic chemicals into our environment with no due diligence in regards to ensuring these chemicals are safe, and with no accountability for the damage that these chemicals wreak in our bodies, soil, and water,” noted Maureo Fernandez y Mora, Associate State Director of Clean Water Action Massachusetts. “MA DEP’s commitment to providing financial assistance through grant funding is a key component to making sure that communities won’t be priced out of accessing safer drinking water – we encourage communities to take advantage of this funding and demonstrate that there’s a need for more. The work continues to ultimately hold chemical companies themselves accountable for the cost of cleanup.”

CLF experts are available for further comment.