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EPA data shows 2021 had fewer toxic chemical releases in Connecticut

EPA Forever Chemicals
Joshua A. Bickel
Eva Stebel, water researcher, pours a water sample into a smaller glass container for experimentation as part of drinking water and PFAS research at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Center For Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response.

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to strengthen the standards for drinking water across the nation.

It’s in an effort to reduce the amount of toxic PFAS chemicals Americans consume daily.

PFAS chemicals, also called forever chemicals, are found in a wide range of household products and do not break down naturally. They can cause cancer, birth defects, decreased immunity and more.

The EPA released data showing that Connecticut's toxic chemical release decreased by 10% between 2012 and 2021.

Currently, the Maximum Level Contaminant (MCL) for PFAS chemicals in New York is 10ppt (parts per trillion). That’s the lowest MCL in the country.

The EPA’s new standard is 2ppt.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito said the chemicals must be removed from drinking water.

“This chemical is extremely toxic,” Esposito said. “And the more we get to know about it, the more toxic scientists realize it is. The lower the exposure, the safer the public.”

Esposito said the next step is to look at where else the chemical is found.

“We need to turn off the spigot which is contributing to people's chemicals in our everyday lives,” Esposito said. “So whether it's still being found in food wrappers, or in industrial waste, or in stain guard products, we have used this toxic chemical in a myriad of products.”

Esposito advises Long Island and Connecticut residents who have private wells to test them for PFAS chemicals.

Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.