State’s Drinking Water Quality Council Recommends Designating 7 PFAS Chemicals as Emerging Contaminants

For Immediate Release: October 7, 2021

On Tuesday, the NYS Drinking Water Quality Council recommended designating seven PFAS as “emerging contaminants” (PFNA, PFHpA, PFHxS, PFHxA, PFPeA, PFBA, and PFBS). Should the NYS Department of Health accept the recommendation through a formal rulemaking process, water utilities across the state would be required to test for these toxic chemicals and notify the public if elevated levels are detected.

PFAS are a class of over 5,000 chemicals, many of which have been linked to harmful health effects and have polluted communities in New York like Hoosick Falls and Newburgh. Two PFAS chemicals (PFOA and PFOS) are currently regulated in New York State. There are 29 PFAS chemicals that can currently be detected in drinking water using EPA-approved methods.

Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water at Environmental Advocates NY said, “We are encouraged that the Council is recognizing the urgency to address these PFAS in drinking water, but there are many more harmful contaminants threatening New Yorkers’ health. Fortunately, Governor Hochul can build on the Council’s proposal and strengthen protections against additional emerging contaminants by signing A.126-A/S.1759-A, which will ensure testing and direct public notification for 40 toxic chemicals in our drinking water. We urge her to sign this legislation as soon as possible.

We also hope that Governor Hochul will seize the opportunity to re-invigorate New York’s Drinking Water Quality Council. There are two vacant seats on the Council, and we look forward to the Governor appointing individuals committed first and foremost to protecting public health. Moving forward, there must be much more robust engagement with communities impacted by water pollution to ensure the Council addresses their needs and concerns. Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the Council can be a model for the nation on how to proactively protect drinking water.”