Headline RoundupMarch 16th, 2023

EPA Proposes Limits on 'Forever Chemicals' in Drinking Water

Summary from the AllSides News Team

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules that would limit the amount of cancer-linked “forever chemicals” in drinking water.

The Details: If finalized, the new rules would require public water systems to monitor for six types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and act to reduce them if they exceed regulatory limits; for at least two of the six chemicals, that limit would be close to the lowest measurable amount. 

For Context: Used since the 1940s, PFAS compounds are called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down over time, cannot be destroyed by fire or bacteria, and can easily contaminate natural environments. They are often used to make waterproof or non-stick products. According to health officials, a large body of research suggests that ingestion of these chemicals may cause health problems, like increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

Claiming Bipartisanship: The EPA framed the proposal as a bipartisan victory in its announcement, citing support from both Republican and Democratic members of Congress, as well as from actor Mark Ruffalo. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage from the left was more supportive of the proposal, but coverage was generally favorable or neutral across the spectrum. Major right-rated outlets appeared to pay less attention to the story, with Fox News (Right bias) merely republishing a Reuters (Center bias) article. One Townhall (Right bias) columnist argued that health officials “cherry-picked data to claim that the science is settled on this issue.”

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