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Limit PFAS in bottled water, US senators tell the FDA

by Cheryl Hogue
May 27, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 20


Photo shows a man crouched down next to a cluster of large bottles filled with water, about to pick one up.
Credit: Vic Hinterlang/Shutterstock
Noting that people with tainted water supplies often turn to bottled water, a group of US senators is asking the US Food and Drug Administration to set a limit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in this product.

Eleven US Senators are asking the US Food and Drug Administration to set a federal limit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) allowable in bottled water. The agency currently has no limits for these persistent industrial chemicals, which are linked to a number of adverse health effects, in bottled water. Yet companies that belong to the International Bottled Water Association test their products for PFAS. The association has a limit of 5 parts per trillion for any one of these chemicals and a combined total of 10 parts per trillion for two or more PFAS in bottled water. But not all US bottled-water suppliers are members of the group, the senators say in a May 19 letter to the FDA. The FDA historically has waited for the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on contaminants in public tap water before establishing similar ones for bottled water, the lawmakers say. But it will take years for the EPA to regulate PFAS in drinking water, and the senators would like the FDA to act sooner.


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