The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) is notifying the public of recent interim health advisory recommendations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning drinking water and the potential presence of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS chemicals are a large group of compounds that have been widely used in manufacturing, non-stick coatings, firefighting foams and many other applications. These chemicals have long-term persistence in the environment and have been found in some drinking water supplies. The science of PFAS is evolving, and LDH is reviewing the most current toxicological research on PFAS.
The health advisories recently issued by the EPA are nonbinding recommendations; there is not a regulatory effect on Louisiana water systems and the recommendations are not currently enforceable. However, LDH is prepared to work with the EPA as the science concerning these compounds continues to evolve and industry continues to decrease usage.
LDH has conducted targeted testing for PFAS in the past. Going forward the agency will conduct additional PFAS testing of public water systems and publish test results and other relevant information at www.ldh.la.gov/pfas.
What residents can do
Residents concerned about levels of PFAS compounds in their drinking water can consider installing in-home water treatment filters that are certified to lower the PFAS in their water. Residents can also read more about reducing their risk here and here.
What water systems can do
EPA has established an emerging contaminant fund through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which will be allocated to states through Louisiana’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) to help water systems with remediation of PFAS from drinking water. There is $11.3 million allocated to Louisiana annually for the next five years. All water system projects using this fund are eligible to receive 100% principal forgiveness. For more information regarding the BIL funds and the DWRLF please visit https://ldh.la.gov/page/431
Other information, including ways to minimize your exposure to PFAS chemicals, can be found at the EPA website: https://www.epa.gov/pfas