The World Health Organization recently released for public comment its first document evaluating PFAS: “PFOS and PFOA in Drinking-water, Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality.” According to WHO, one of its primary goals is that “all people, whatever their stage of development and their social and economic conditions, have the right to have access to an adequate supply of safe drinking water.” One function that WHO exercises to achieve that goal is the proposal of regulations, and “to make recommendations with …Continue Reading
Friday of last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published a proposed rule that would designate perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”), including their salts and structural isomers, as hazardous substances under section 102(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (commonly known as CERCLA). The designations, if finalized, could have direct and indirect impacts on a range of individuals and companies, as well as the federal government itself.
The five broad categories of entities potentially affected by this designation as …Continue Reading
As reported in our blog back in June, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new drinking-water health advisories (HAs) for PFAS contaminants. Specifically, the advisories drastically reduced acceptable PFOA and PFOS water levels from 70 parts per trillion (set in 2016) down to 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOA and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS.
These new advisories, however, are already the subject of attack. Last week, a leading trade association filed a petition challenging these new HAs.
The petition was filed with the U.S. …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
“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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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