RI House Passes PFAS Protection Bill

Photo: Rhode Island State Capitol Building

Rhode Island State House. Photo: By Chensiyuan via CC 4.0

June 21, 2022 (PROVIDENCE, RI) – Rhode Island’s House of Representatives has passed a bill that would set standards for toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water, groundwater, and surface waters for the first time. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.

“PFAS chemicals are a toxic scourge on our environment and our health,” said CLF attorney James Crowley. “These forever chemicals have no place in our water, and this bill will help ensure that Rhode Islanders can feel confident that our drinking water is safe. We look forward to Governor McKee signing this bill into law, and we urge the Department of Health to work quickly to adopt a permanent drinking water standard.”

PFAS chemicals pose a serious risk to public health, even in very small concentrations. To date, they have been linked to several cancers, problems with fertility and pregnancy, compromised immune systems, and interference with natural hormones and with liver, thyroid, and pancreatic function.

PFAS chemicals have been detected in drinking water, groundwater, and surface waters throughout Rhode Island. The bill passed today will: set an interim drinking water standard of 20 parts per trillion for six PFAS compounds, matching the protection established in Massachusetts; require the Department of Health to make a decision regarding a permanent drinking water standard by 2024; set standards for PFAS in groundwater and surface waters; and require state agencies to investigate potential sources of PFAS contamination.

CLF experts are available for further comment.