Health officials in New York will issue regulations for 23 chemicals deemed "emerging contaminants" in drinking water as the state seeks to strengthen its drinking water standards.
The regulations that will be issued will start a 60-day public comment period, and are meant to comply with a drinking water quality law approved earlier this year by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The laws are meant to address contaminants in water like polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The chemicals have been used for decades in the manufacturing of fire suppression foam, non-stick cookware and waterproofing fabric.
But the chemical has also been discovered in drinking water in upstate communities in recent years, leading to officials to seek ways of limiting their spread. PFAS and similar contaminants break down slowly in the environment, making them a potential health risk.
New York will regulate four additional PFAS, a move that would require public water systems in the state to reduce levels if found. If granted final approval, the regulations would join efforts to better control similar compounds like PFOS and PFOA, which were previously adopted in 2020.
At the same time, testing, reporting and public notification is being proposed for an additional 19 PFAS compounds.
“New Yorkers should know that their drinking water is among the most protected in the country,” Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said. “New York has been leading the way on emerging contaminants, and today’s announcement represents another important milestone.”