The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is beginning a new study of the science and technology relevant to ensuring the safety of the Nation’s drinking water. After engaging a wide range of experts, PCAST will recommend to the President actions the Federal government can take, in concert with cities and states, to promote application of the best available science and technology to drinking-water safety, now and in the future. In its study, PCAST will look at how contaminants in water are detected and monitored from source to tap, how the associated risks are assessed and remediated, and how information about contaminant concentrations, risks, and remedies is communicated to officials and the public. In addition to identifying current best practices in these areas and the potential for propagating such practices more widely, PCAST will consider what lines of research and development hold promise for improving relevant capabilities and practices going forward.
To assist in this effort, PCAST will seek input from Federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health regarding data and ongoing research on water quality and public health. In conducting the study, PCAST will also tap the insights of non-Federal experts in the biomedical sciences, public health, water monitoring and purification, data collection and analysis, management of public water systems, and other pertinent areas. The results of the study will help inform future action to ensure that all Americans have affordable access to high-quality water when and where they need it.
Rosina Bierbaum and Christine Cassel are members of PCAST and co-chairs of the PCAST Working Group on Science and Technology for Safe Drinking Water.
PCAST is an advisory group of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the President to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from Cabinet departments and other Federal agencies. For more information about PCAST, please visit the PCAST website.