Millions Threatened, But No Action from EPA

Everyone should be able to turn on their tap, fill a glass, and drink the water with confidence it’s safe. Unfortunately, throughout the United States, many people have well-founded concerns about drinking their tap water. Our drinking water — and the nation’s health — face growing threats, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fallen asleep at the wheel.

Please join us in pushing EPA to do its job by signing our drinking water petition and calling your Members of Congress to ask for meaningful, expeditious action on drinking water contaminants.

EPA is in charge of setting standards under the Safe Drinking Water Act, including deciding whether to take action on newly identified threats to drinking water and setting health-based standards for certain types of contaminants. Yet EPA, for the last two decades, has been perpetually behind schedule, leaving many known contaminants in drinking water unregulated.

One example of how extreme these delays are can be seen in EPA’s failure to update drinking water standards to protect the public from hexavalent chromium. For years, EPA has studied this chemical, which contaminated groundwater and caused cancer in Hinkley, California, leading to the Erin Brockovich lawsuit. That case settled in 1996, yet EPA has still not updated its drinking water standards for chromium. Waterkeeper Alliance is taking EPA to court to force the agency to take action on this and at least a dozen other known contaminants.

Recently, a leaked report revealed that EPA has decided not to set limits on PFOA and PFOS, two common types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. These man-made chemicals have been used for more than 50 years and have severely contaminated groundwater and waterways around the country. PFOA and PFOS have serious health impacts even at very low levels and most drinking water treatment systems are not able to remove them from drinking water. The drinking water of more than a hundred million people in the U.S. is threatened by these dangerous chemicals — yet EPA has apparently decided not to set any limits or even require drinking water providers to test for them.

EPA’s “see no evil” approach to drinking water protection is just one more example of how it is failing to stand up for public health and flies in the face of its mission “to protect human health and the environment.”

This week, please stand up for safe drinking water for everyone by signing our drinking water petition. To have an even greater impact, call your Members of Congress, and ask them to take action to protect drinking water from dangerous chemicals like PFOA and PFOS.

Want to do more? The reported decision to not regulate PFOA and PFOS was made by EPA under Andrew Wheeler’s watch. On Tuesday, February 5, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on whether to officially confirm Wheeler as Administrator of EPA. Please call the members of the committee today and tell them that this leaked report is just one more reason he is unfit to be the EPA Administrator.

Dive Into Democracy citizen suits Waterkeeper Alliance congressional recessDive Into Democracy is Waterkeeper Alliance’s roundup of current attacks on America’s clean water protections and how to take action. Want to get them in your email? Sign up here.

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