Final Fifth Drinking Water Contaminant Candidate List Published by EPA

This year’s list includes per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS or forever chemicals.

This week, the EPA published its fifth Contaminate Candidate List (CCL).

Every five years, the EPA publishes a Contaminant Candidate List, which contains containments that are not included in “drinking water regulations but are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems,” according to the EPA. This list serves as a foundation for “regulatory considerations” under the Safe Drinking Water Act for the next half-decade, a news release said.

This year’s CCL contains three categories of chemicals—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as forever chemicals, cyanotoxins and disinfection byproducts—66 additional chemicals and 12 microbes.

PFAS exposure and its effects on humans have become more talked about in recent years. Although more research is needed to determine human effects based on exposure levels, the EPA says that exposure may lead to issues with development in children, an increased risk of cancer and reproductive issues.

The EPA took nominations from the public for CCL 5 and considered comments from this year and past CCLs.

“Following public engagement and robust scientific review, the final contaminant candidate list is the latest milestone in our regulatory efforts to ensure safe, clean drinking water for all communities,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox in the news release. “As EPA takes action to protect public health and the environment from PFAS, including proposing the first nationwide drinking water standards later this year, today’s final CCL 5 looks further forward to consider additional protective steps for these forever chemicals.”

CCL 5 was officially signed on October 28, 2022. Though an internet version has been published, the official version will be available soon on Government Printing Office's FDsys website and, Docket No. EPA-HQ-OW-2018-0594.

The first CCL was published in 1998.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Environmental Protection.