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Are ‘Forever Chemicals’ a Forever Problem?

The Daily

The New York Times

News, Daily News

4.597.8K Ratings

🗓️ 17 April 2024

⏱️ 25 minutes

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The Environmental Protection Agency has begun for the first time to regulate a class of synthetic chemicals known as “forever chemicals” in America’s drinking water. Kim Tingley, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, explains how these chemicals, which have been linked to liver disease and other serious health problems, came to be in the water supply — and in many more places. Guest: Kim Tingley, a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine.

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From the New York Times, I'm Sabrina Taverny Sea, and this is the Daily.


This month for the first time the Environmental Protection Agency began to


regulate a class of synthetic chemicals known as forever chemicals in America's


drinking water.


But the chemicals which have been linked to liver disease and other serious health problems


are in far more than just our water supply. Today, my colleague Kim Tingley explains. It's Wednesday, April 17th.


It's Wednesday, April 17th. So Kim, any time the EPA announces a regulation, I think we all sort of take notice


because implicit in it is this idea that we have been exposed to something, something bad, potentially, lead or asbestos, you know, and recently the EPA is regulating a type of chemical known as P-FAS. So for those who don't know, what are


P-FAS chemicals?


Yeah, so P-FAS stands for purr and poly floral alkyl substances.


They're often called forever chemicals just because they persist so long in the environment and they don't easily break down.


And for that reason, we also use them in a ton of consumer products.


They're in makeup, they're in carpet, they're in non-stick cookware,


they're in food packaging, all sorts of things.


Yeah, I feel like I've been hearing about these chemicals actually for a very long time I mean non-stick


pans Teflon right that's the thing that's in my mind when I think P-FAS absolutely yeah


this class of chemicals has been around for decades.


And what's really important about this


is that the EPA has decided for the first time


to regulate them in drinking water.


And that's a ruling that stands to affect tens of millions of people.


So help me understand where these things came from and how it's taken so long to get to the point


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