Frequent Questions

Why did EPA choose carcinogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as the first group to address in the near-term?

After carefully considering input from stakeholders, EPA decided to address as a group up to 16 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may cause cancer. The Agency determined that they represent a near term opportunity and also meet the factors listed in question 1: a) the public health goal for all is currently or would likely be set at zero because they may cause cancer, (b) most of this group of VOCs can be measured by the same analytical method (i.e., EPA 524.2), (c) many can be treated by the same treatment (i.e., aeration and/or granular activated carbon), and (d) a preliminary evaluation of occurrence indicates that some of these VOCs may co-occur. This group will include trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). EPA determined in March, 2010 that the drinking water standards for these two currently regulated contaminants need to be revised. Addressing these VOCs as a group will help reduce exposure to these contaminants.

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