GAO Report Recommends that EPA Use New Data to Analyze Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Drinking Water

GAO has published a report entitled, “Persistent Chemicals: EPA Should Use New Data to Analyze the Demographics of Communities with PFAS in Their Drinking Water.” To develop the report, GAO analyzed available state PFAS occurrence data from six selected states (Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, and Vermont) and held discussion groups and interviews with officials from 49 states. The report examines:

  1. What recent data from the six states show about the occurrence of PFAS in drinking water;
  2. The demographic characteristics of communities in those states with and without PFAS in their drinking water; and
  3. Factors that influenced states’ decisions to test and develop standards or guidance for PFAS in drinking water, as well as barriers the states encountered.

GAO found that the limited amount of available data inhibited the ability to determine whether disadvantaged communities across the nation are more likely to have PFAS in their drinking water. Therefore, GAO recommended that EPA conduct a nationwide analysis using comprehensive data to determine the demographic characteristics of communities with PFAS in their drinking water. EPA agreed with the recommendation and will use the PFAS sampling data collected during the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) beginning in January 2023 to conduct this type of analysis.

For more information and to download the report, visit the GAO website.