New Rules Will Increase Levels Of Some Chemicals in Florida’s Water

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Florida environmental regulators passed new rules Tuesday that will increase the levels of some toxic chemicals allowed in Florida’s water.

The 5-3 vote by the governor-appointed Environmental Regulation Commission raised allowable levels of more than two dozen chemicals, including known carcinogens.

The rule also lowers allowed limits on more than 40 chemicals, and nearly doubles the number of chemicals regulated in the state’s drinking water.

Commissioner Craig Varn, who was appointed to represent the citizens, said the change represents a net positive for human health.

“And so I’m erring on the side of human health, and I think that’s what this does. Is it perfect, no — I’m not going to say that, but does it err on the side of human health? That makes this decision easy. So I’m gonna vote in favor. I’m comfortable with that decision.”

More than 80 people signed up to speak during the hearing. Most were against the rule update, including one protester who took an empty seat on the dais next to commissioners before the vote. He said he was there to represent the environmental community, a post that has gone unfilled.

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WUSF is an NPR affiliate in Tampa.

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