The USA has proposed placing the first ever federal limits on toxic ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water. The chemicals, known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated substances, are human-made and have non-stick or stain repellent properties. Research has linked them to a broad range of health issues, including low birthweight, kidney cancer, and heart attacks. The EPA’s proposed rule would set strict limits of four parts per trillion – the lowest level that can be reliably measured – for two common types of PFAS compounds called PFOA and PFOS and the combined amount of four other types of PFAS. Public concern has increased in recent years as testing reveals PFAS chemicals in a growing list of communities. The EPA estimates the rule could reduce PFAS exposure for nearly 100 million Americans, decreasing rates of cancer, heart attacks and birth complications. The public will have a chance to comment, and the agency can make changes before issuing a final rule, expected by the end of the year. The EPA has made $2 billion available to states to get rid of contaminants such as PFAS and will release billions more in coming years. In February, the European Union began considering a ban on PFAS.