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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued Interim Recommendations for addressing groundwater contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) under federal cleanup programs. These recommendations represent the first federal guidance for mitigating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in groundwater.
After reviewing public comments solicited in April 2019, EPA made these interim recommendations based upon the data and scientific information it collected on PFAS’ toxicity, while specifically acknowledging that the scientific information on these compounds continues to evolve. Specifically, EPA recommends:
- Using a screening
A federal court in the Southern District of Ohio denied the defendants’ 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss in a PFAS class action lawsuit in early October 2019. The lawsuit brought by lead plaintiff Kevin Hardwick, a firefighter and alleged user of PFAS-containing firefighting foams, paves the way for a case with enormous breadth to proceed. Hardwick sued 3M Company , E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company, the Chemours Company, Archroma Management LLC, Arkema, Inc., Arkema France, S.A., Diakin Industries Ltd. , Daikin America, …Continue Reading
PFOA and PFOS, the most notorious compounds in the PFAS family, still contaminate many areas of the country despite being phased out of production (PFOS was phased out in 2002, and PFOA by 2015/2016.) Although human studies have shown these chemicals to be of little toxicity, there are many animal studies that reveal these chemicals to be highly toxic. It’s not surprising then that there is a growing groundswell of advocacy behind federal regulation of these chemicals. And if the scientific uncertainty surrounding PFAS wasn’t …Continue Reading
Last week, the House Environmental Oversight Committee held a third and final hearing on PFAS issues in the United States. The September 10 2019, hearing, which focused on PFAS contamination by industrial producers, served as a follow-up to the subcommittee’s July 24, 2019 hearing on the human impact of PFAS contamination and state-level efforts to regulate the chemicals. DuPont, its spinoff company Chemours, and 3M all sent representatives to Washington D.C. to attend.
In anticipation of the hearing, DuPont issued a press release defining their …Continue Reading