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New national standard to limit PFAS in drinking water

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday instituted a rule aimed at limiting the amounts of “forever chemicals” in our drinking water.

Environmentalists and public health advocates are calling this a breakthrough.

The chemicals are found in some makeup products, sunscreen and other products treated to be waterproof, nonstick or stain resistant.

Those chemicals are called Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl – or PFAS. Researchers say they do not break down completely and linger in the environment and the human body.

The Centers for Disease Control says nearly 90 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their blood, and they can lead to serious health problems, including cancer, kidney or liver damage in people with long-term exposure.

Health experts say people can limit their exposure by avoiding stain- and water-resistant products, and by avoiding nonstick pans that contain PFAS.

Filtering drinking water with activated carbon or reverse osmosis can also help.