Bloomberg Law
May 20, 2020, 3:59 PM

PFAS Limits in Drinking Water to Take More Than a Year, EPA Says

Sylvia Carignan
Sylvia Carignan

The EPA won’t be able to set drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals in the next year, agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday.

The Environmental Protection Agency determined that it’ll set maximum contaminant levels (MCL) for the two chemicals—PFOA and PFOS—in drinking water, but hasn’t proposed what those limits should be.

  • The agency is facing pressure from committee members, including Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), who want to set a one year deadline for the EPA to finalize an enforceable limit.
  • “I don’t believe that the agency can set an MCL on their own, following the Safe Drinking Water Act, within a year,” Wheeler told the committee at a hearing on the agency’s budget request for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been used to manufacture nonstick and stain-resistant coatings in clothing, fast-food wrappers, carpets, and other consumer and industrial products.
  • PFAS compounds may cause adverse health effects, including developmental harm to fetuses, testicular and kidney cancer, liver tissue damage, immune system or thyroid effects, and changes in cholesterol, according to the EPA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sylvia Carignan in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gregory Henderson at; Rebecca Baker at