NJ now requires utilities to remove cancer-linked chemical from water
The state Department of Environmental Protection has established a new low standard for the presence of potentially cancer-causing perflournated compounds in New Jersey's drinking water.
Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, explains perflouronanoic acid (PFNA), comes from the use of fire retardants, especially from military exercises around Joint Base McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst. The chemical has contaminated dozens of drinking water systems in the state over the years.
The compounds have been linked to health problems, including cancer, and can affect women and unborn children. Tittel says now that there are standards, the clock is ticking.
"The water companies will have about a year after they start implementing to remove it," he said.
"What is critical is New Jersey is the first state to set a safe drinking water standard in the country, what is called the Maximum Contamination Level, meaning it cannot go above 13 parts per trillion in your drinking water, and the water companies have to remove it through filtration. That is critical, because these compounds are very bad. They act like a neurotoxin."
He says it's fairly simple to remove from water supplies using carbonated filters.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this story mischaracterized PFNA's use in making Teflon.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5