April 12, 2021 (MONTPELIER, VT) – Vermont officials have announced that the state has declined to put in place further regulations to protect drinking water from a group of harmful chemicals. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and Community Action Works have urged officials to issue stronger protections for the more than 9,000 known PFAS chemicals. The current rules address only five of the toxic substances and do not address all of the PFAS chemicals found in Vermont’s public water supplies, groundwater, and the environment.
“The decision not to regulate more of these toxic chemicals in our water is deeply disturbing,” said Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “It doesn’t make sense to continue this whack-a-mole approach to removing these chemicals from drinking water. People’s health will suffer as a result of this decision.”
PFAS have been found in more than 100 public water supplies across Vermont. The toxic substances are presumed carcinogens and have been linked to a variety of severe health problems, including learning disorders in infants and children, fertility and pregnancy issues, and impaired liver, thyroid, pancreatic, and immune function—including a decreased antibody response to vaccines. On top of these serious health threats, exposure to even small amounts of PFAS may make people more vulnerable to COVID-19.
“This decision means our communities will have to guess about the safety of their water and leaves communities vulnerable to drinking water pollution,” said Shaina Kasper, Vermont State Director with Community Action Works, formerly Toxics Action Center, and co-facilitator of the National PFAS Contamination Coalition. “We know that PFAS are toxic and need to be regulated as a class.”
Experts are available for further comment.