The Stream, April 4: Australia Tightens Drinking Water Standards For PFAS

The Global Rundown

New federal guidelines in Australia significantly reduce the amount of PFAS, chemicals found in firefighting foam, that are allowed in drinking water. Federal budget cuts in Brazil will reduce science funding by nearly half. Michigan’s budget could feel the effects of the Flint water crisis for a long time, despite a recent settlement agreement. An appeal related to the U.S. Clean Water Rule will continue after the Supreme Court refused to put the case on hold. Record rainfall in parts of Western Australia filled inland lakes and attracted thousands of nesting birds.

“While related costs seem manageable for now, the agreement signifies that the state may be required to continue to support costs, the magnitude of which remains uncertain in the long term…the economic and social costs, on top of the financial responsibility, will unfold over a long time.” –Excerpt from a report released by the S&P credit rating agency, cautioning that the Flint water crisis will continue to place financial pressure on the state of Michigan despite a recent legal settlement to replace lead pipes in the city. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

0.07 micrograms per liter Australia’s new daily intake limit for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in drinking water, making the standard seven times more stringent than the previous limit. The chemical was used in firefighting foams, contaminating groundwater in some towns. Guardian ; ABC News

In context: Learn how perfluorinated compounds became an enduring and persistent hazard to public health and the environment.

90,000 birds Number found in a breeding colony of banded stilts on an island in an inland lake in Australia’s Pilbara region. Normally a desert, record rains in January have attracted thousands of birds to the landscape’s flooded lakes and rivers. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Federal budget cuts in Brazil will reduce funding for the Ministry of Science by 44 percent, resulting in the agency’s lowest budget in 12 years. Scientists in the country are calling the move “an atomic bomb strike on Brazilian science,” warning that researchers will leave the country and development will be harmed. Nature

On The Radar

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a request by the administration of President Donald Trump to pause a court case regarding the Clean Water Rule. The rule, issued under the Obama administration, sought to clarify federal jurisdiction over small streams and wetlands. The Trump administration has ordered federal agencies to reconsider the rule, which is unpopular with developers and agricultural groups. The Hill