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Setting Health Standards for Emerging Contaminants

State Department of Health lowers maximum contaminant levels

News of emerging contaminants in New York waters is nothing new, yet many such contaminants often remain unregulated. Just recently, a report from the New York Public Interest Research Group announced the findings of a three-year study that found Long Island has the highest concentration of dangerous chemicals like 1,4-dioxane, PFOS, and PFOA in the state. Now, the State Department of Health is taking action and lowering the maximum contaminant levels for these chemicals. 

In a recent Southampton Press news article discussing the impact of these chemicals in East End communities such as Wainscott, Sagaponack, Hampton Bays, East Quogue and Westhampton, New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele pointed out that the federal government did not previously have a standard for these chemicals, rather just a health advisory level.

“’All over the state, the emergence of these contaminants in our drinking water supply and their harmful effects are becoming an increasingly unacceptable reality,’ the assemblyman wrote in the letter, adding that the contaminants have been linked to several potentially life-threatening conditions, such as cancer’” the article reads.  

Further monitoring and regulation of these contaminants has won the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, who  wants to ensure there is regular testing and fixing of water systems in an effort to mitigate public health risks. Under the new regulations, public water suppliers will be required to test and monitor their water supply quarterly as opposed to annually as required by the Suffolk County Department of Health. Learn more about what these contaminants are here.

Emerging contaminants are just one of many threats facing Long Island waters. At the Long Island Clean Water Partnership, we are committed to finding solutions to our water quality problems including the critical long term funding that will be required to protect and restore our waters for the future. Join us to ensure your drinking water is safe now and for generations to come. Click here to learn more.