N.C. Division of Public Health supports call for EPA to develop nationwide safe water standards

Raleigh, NC

Efforts by a national organization of public health agency peers to have a uniform set of nationwide drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency has been embraced by the North Carolina Division of Public Health.  The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials took the stand last month.

“We appreciate the association’s policy statement adopted in March that the EPA should set those standards for all drinking water,” said Danny Staley, Director of the Division of Public Health. “We encourage them to use the best available evidence as they develop the needed standards.

“We hope the association’s policy will provide the impetus for adoption of uniform safe drinking water standards that can be applied in all states and territories,” he said. “This decision by this national body reinforces the recent withdrawal of the ‘do not drink’ recommendations issued to a small set of well owners, and clearly demonstrates the need for consistent standards for all citizens.”

The association said in its adopted policy and position statement: ASTHO believes that there should be one consistent set of drinking water standards for the protection of all Americans. In the past, proposals were considered that had the potential to create a two-tiered system of maximum contaminant levels for water systems based on affordability. However, a two-tier system would result in health disparities across communities and states. Uniform optimum public health protection standards for everyone in the United States and U.S. territories must remain the focus.

The association represents the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, as well as more than 100,000 public health professionals employed by these agencies. The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials incorporated in 1942 and today includes the chiefs of health agencies in all 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

The organization supports efforts that protect the health of all people and engages in a wide range of scientific, education, and policy issues on behalf of public health. The N.C. Division of Public Health has a long-standing involvement with this peer-based organization.

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