Under Trump’s EPA, there will be no drinking water limit for two toxic chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, that contaminate tap water, according to Politico.
The administration has thus far been unwilling to deal aggressively with the chemicals. The chemicals have been used for decades in Teflon-coated cookware and military firefighting foam. The chemicals are estimated to be in the bloodstreams of about 98% of Americans.
The chemicals will be unregulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Utilities will not face federal requirements for testing for chemicals and removing them from drinking water. Several states are pursuing or have already pursued their own limits.
Both Republicans and Democrats have pushed the EPA to do more to keep the chemicals out of drinking water.
PFOA and PFOS have been linked to testicular cancer and kidney cancer, hypertension, and other illnesses. Federal scientists found that both chemicals are dangerous at extremely low concentrations.
While the EPA will not impose a drinking water limit, they will list the two chemicals as hazardous under the Superfund law.
"The action plan is currently undergoing interagency review," EPA spokesperson John Konkus said by email.
As many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water with levels of the chemical that could be harmful.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, to regulate a chemical the "EPA must show not only that the contaminant is dangerous, but also that setting a limit offers “a meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction” and that doing so is financially justified."
EPA issued a voluntary health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in 2016, recommending a lifetime limit in drinking water of 70 parts per trillion for both chemicals. Some states have set their own limits, some o which are stricter than the EPA guidelines.
The Trump administration has urged states to take charge in their own environmental regulations.