School’s Out for Summer, but EPA’s Latest PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisory Order is No Vacation for the Regulated Industry or Litigants

If you drink water, pay a water bill, or watch the news, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen (but were likely unable to pronounce) the acronyms for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most recognized compounds within the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Known as PFAS compounds, they were used pervasively in American manufacturing dating back to the 1940s and assumed the nomenclature “forever chemicals” because of their remarkable and arguably useful ability to not decompose. PFAS’ unique resistance to breaking …

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Can Product Labels Be Used to Predict the Presence of PFAS? A New Study Says “Likely” for Stain- and Water-Resistant Marketed Products; Less Likely for “Green” Marketed Products

“How Well Do Product Labels Indicate the Presence of PFAS in Consumer Items Used by Children and Adolescents?” is the name of a new study published last week by the American Chemical Society, in Environmental Science & Technology. Focusing on children’s’ products, the study’s abstract states that because “product labels rarely list chemical additives, including PFAS,” the authors “evaluated whether other information on product labels can be used by consumers to select products without PFAS.”

“The primary goal of this study was to investigate …

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U.S. EPA Takes Key Step Toward Regulating PFOA and PFOS

As the virus pandemic has consumed our daily news, even some of the most important developments in the environmental world seem to have floated under the radar. Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an initial regulatory determination under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—the two most notorious substances in the family of thousands of similar “forever chemicals” also collectively referred to as PFAS. 

The EPA’s announcement—a little over a year following its release of …

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PFAS Contaminants Discovered at NJ Trump Golf Course

Recent utility tests of drinking water on President Trump’s golf property in Bedminster, New Jersey, revealed, for the third time this year, the presence of perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is one of the more common PFAS compounds. A lab retained by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection measured 3.5 – 3.6 parts per trillion (ppt) of the chemical at the property. Depending on who you talk to, the levels detected could be considered low and not harmful or, alternatively, they could be considered too high …

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States Continue to Lead the Charge: Report Issued For First of its Kind Statewide PFAS Sampling of Drinking Water Supplies in Michigan

If you’ve been following PFAS-related news you’ll know that Michigan has been one of the hardest hit states when it comes to this emerging contaminant. The state is one of a handful in the nation to take the lead in attempting to set some of the nation’s toughest drinking water limits for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

Earlier this year, a Michigan state sponsored scientific workgroup proposed new health threshold limits for various PFAS compounds as Michigan seeks to set some of the most stringent enforceable …

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New Mexico Joins the PFAS Fight with Major Enforcement Action

We recently reported that the lately-inaugurated governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, has taken a strong stance on environmental issues, including oil and gas development. Now, the state has taken further steps to enforce its contamination laws and improve the state’s environmental profile. Last week, the State of New Mexico filed suit against the United States based on PFOS and PFOA contamination originating at two Air Force bases — Cannon Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico and Holloman Air Force Base in southern …

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EPA Releases First-of-its-Kind Nationwide PFAS Action Plan

Earlier today, the EPA’s Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, announced a nationwide PFAS Action Plan. An EPA official described the plan as the “most comprehensive action plan for a chemical of concern ever undertaken by the agency.” The plan describes actions that are under way and slated for future action. In particular, the plan discusses:

  • moving forward with evaluating the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS;
  • beginning the steps to designate the chemicals as “hazardous substances”  through an available federal statutory
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Federal Study Provides Further Evidence Of PFAS’ Omnipotence, Adding To Pre-Existing Concern

It’s no secret that more and more states are investigating PFAS chemicals to determine whether regulation is wise. The U.S. Government has been grappling with the same issues. Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), including PFAS, are of great interest to regulators, water treatment utilities, the general public and scientists. When considering, for example, 2016 data collected by federal scientists that estimates that up to 110 million people are served by water supplies with PFAS, investigation is important. As we are well aware though, the federal …

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“PFAS Action Act of 2019” Proposed to Designate PFAS as CERCLA Hazardous Substances as More States Move To Regulate Locally

This month, a trio of bi-partisan legislators from Michigan introduced a bill in the United States House of Representatives that would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to classify all PFAS chemicals under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund staute. The bill, introduced by Reps. Dan Kildee (D), Fred Upton (R), and Debbie Dingell (D) and referred to as the “PFAS Action Act of 2019,” would require such designation by the EPA no later than …

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Short Use, Yet Long Life: New Study Highlights Persisting PFAS Treatment In Common Consumer Products

It’s worth noting that certain everyday products that U.S. consumers encounter frequently may still be treated with PFAS. That’s the focus of a recent study.  The study, conducted by Safer Chemicals Healthy Families and Toxic-Free Future, screened various retailer’s food-contact materials (i.e., take-out containers, bakery or deli paper, single-use plates) for the presence of suspected PFAS treatment. Although a small sample size, the study found that 5/8 (or about 63 percent) of take-out containers that they had collected from different stores in many states …

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