Multiple major organizations shared similar sentiments. Erik Olson, a senior health expert with the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the proposal “groundbreaking,” while Earthjustice attorney Jonathan Kalmuss-Katz said that it was “necessary” and “long overdue.”
Still, Kalmuss-Katz emphasized that advocates want to see the remaining PFAS also subject to scrutiny and regulation. And some advocates are already dismayed by elements of the proposal. Kyla Bennett, a scientist and attorney formerly with EPA and now at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, argued that levels for PFOA and PFOS should have been lower.
“EPA said there was basically no safe level of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water,” she said, calling the final MCLs “hard to swallow.”
Bennett also worried that the hazard index calculations for the other four compounds only account for non-cancer effects. Cancer is challenging to connect to a chemical and requires significant data, much of which does not exist for most PFAS. But Bennett asserted that EPA should be more protective given what it does know about the link between compounds like PFOA and cancer.