Maine Enacts Groundbreaking, Strict PFAS Law to Take Effect in January 2023

On July 15, 2021, Maine became the first state to ban per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from most products by the year 2030. Under the law, PFAS means “substances that include any member of the class of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom”—a class of thousands of chemicals.

Maine’s new law titled “An Act to Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution,” sponsored by Representative Gramlich, was adopted by the Maine legislature as an emergency measure (which does not require the …

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Dairy Milk, Farms, and PFAS—Issues Recently Highlighted in Hearing Before SAAS

Dairy farmers—particularly in Maine, but in the Midwest as well—have recently made headlines because of alleged PFAS contamination on farms and in dairy milk. The U.S. senators from Maine are bringing to light farm contamination in their states, and it is likely to gain traction in other agriculture-heavy jurisdictions, particularly the Midwest.

“Over the past several years, we have seen family farms in Maine affected by PFAS. In 2016, a dairy farmer in Arundel, Maine, discovered that the milk produced on his farm contains some …

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ATSDR Releases Final Guidance on Perfluoroalkyls

As promised in our November 2018 blog post, “ATSDR PFAS Update: No Final Report Yet, But Further Guidance on Minimal Risk Levels and Drinking Water Concentrations,” we are providing an update on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s recent release of its final Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls (Tox. Profile). This represents the ATSDR’s final guidance on these substances.

The purpose of the toxicological profile is to “succinctly characterize[] the toxicologic and adverse health effects information for these toxic substances…,” which are developed under …

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A Second Bite at the PFAS: House of Representatives Passes PFAS Action Act of 2021; Similar to Act Passed in 2020

Recently, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill—the PFAS Action Act of 2021—that would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin regulating perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

The legislation would require the EPA to establish a national drinking water standard within two years for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroactanesulfonic acid (PFOS)—the two most scrutinized PFAS chemicals. Currently, the EPA has a voluntary guidance level of 70 parts per trillion for both PFOA and PFOS combined.

The bill requires …

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Illinois EPA Joins Growing List of States Issuing PFAS Health Advisories

Illinois has joined a growing list of states seeking to regulate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and compounds. On January 28, 2021, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency announced four “health advisories” in accordance with the Illinois Part 620 groundwater regulations (35 Ill. Adm. Code Part 620). Specifically, the four PFAS compounds Illinois issued health advisories on are PFBS, PFHxS, PFHxA, and PFOA.

Pursuant to the Illinois Administrative Code, 35 Ill. Adm. Code 620.605, health advisories are issued when a chemical substance that is harmful to …

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Massachusetts Adopts Stricter MCL for Six Combined PFAS Chemicals

On October 2, 2020, Massachusetts became the latest state or commonwealth to promulgate stricter water quality regulations for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued a new standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), which is more than three times lower than the present federal standard of 70 ppt (i.e., for the sum of PFOA and PFOS). MA’s new standard is more expansive as it covers the sum of six PFAS chemicals: the well-known PFOA and PFOS, and …

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Empire State Adopts MCL for 1, 4-Dioxane, PFOA, and PFOS

On July 30, 2020, New York’s Public Health and Health Planning Council voted in support of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS—the two most well-known per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Council voted to set the MCLs for both chemicals at 10 parts per trillion—among the lowest levels adopted by any state, and significantly lower than the U.S. EPA’s current guidance levels of 70 ppt.

Another chemical—1, 4-Dioxane—also has an MCL of 1 part per billion now. New York announced that this regulation …

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Principles of Interpretation and Separation of Powers: Federal Court’s PFAS Ruling a Short Study in Both

Our readers are well aware of the ongoing debate on whether perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (commonly known, together, as PFAS) should be designated as hazardous substances. Despite the constant attention these compounds receive, they are yet to be designated. There is a recent case out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania that highlights the legal significance while employing some basic principles. 

In Giovanni, et al. v. United States Dep’t of the Navy, individual plaintiffs discovered that PFAS chemicals from nearby Navy facilities had infiltrated …

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Limited PFAS Regulations Included in Recent Law Creating Military’s Space Force

When the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020 (NDAA) was signed into law on Dec. 20, 2019, it is not surprising that the creation of the Military’s Space Force garnered the most attention. However, for environmental regulatory observers, the new law surprisingly included several environmental regulations meant to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including PFOA and PFOS. More specifically, the NDAA prohibits the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS after Oct. 1, 2024 at military installations and immediately prohibits use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam …

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Legislators Assemble! North Carolina and Illinois Move to Enact PFAS Regulations

So far in 2020, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) proposed a maximum concentration level in groundwater for two PFAS compounds, while the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency released proposed draft amendments to its groundwater standards, including standards for a wide range of PFAS compounds. North Carolina’s and Illinois’ actions join prior efforts at legislation in other states, including Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont.

The NC DEQ is proposing a maximum concentration of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOS and …

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