Day: May 20, 2021

Turkey bans polyethylene plastic imports

Read the full story from the Associated Press.

Turkey has imposed an import ban on ethylene polymer plastic waste as environmental groups sound the alarm on the world’s plastic consumption and lack of effective recycling.

EPA adds new PFAS to its Drinking Water Treatability Database

Today, as part of its commitment to address drinking water challenges across America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announced an update to the Drinking Water Treatability Database with new references and treatment options for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This update will help states, tribes, local governments, and water utilities make informed decisions to manage PFAS in their communities. 

“As EPA scientists and researchers evaluate technologies to remove PFAS from drinking water, we believe it’s important to share this information through our Drinking Water Treatability Database. This is exactly the kind of work that our new EPA Council on PFAS is working to support so that our federal, state, local, and Tribal partners have the information and tools they need to help protect our nation’s drinking water from PFAS and other contaminants.”

Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development and the EPA Science Advisor

The Drinking Water Treatability Database presents an overview of different contaminants and possible treatment processes to remove them from drinking water. This information is supported by scientific references, such as journal articles, conference proceedings, reports and webinars with treatability data.  

With this update, EPA added treatment information for eleven PFAS compounds. This update brings the total number of PFAS with treatment information in the database to 37, including PFOA and PFOS. Researchers have also added 38 new scientific references to the existing PFAS entries, which increases the depth of scientific knowledge available in the database.

The PFAS added to the Database are: 

  • Perfluoropentanesulfonic acid (PFPeS)
  • Perfluorohexanesulfonamide (PFHxSA)
  • Perfluorobutylsulfonamide (PFBSA)
  • Perfluoro-4-methoxybutanoic acid (PFMOBA)
  • Perfluoro-3-methoxypropanoic acid (PFMOPrA)
  • Perfluoro-3,5,7,9-butaoxadecanoic acid (PFO4DA)
  • Fluorotelomer sulfonate 4:2 (FtS 4:2)
  • Ammonium 4,8-dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoate (ADONA)
  • Perfluoro-4-(perfluoroethyl)cyclohexylsulfonate (PFECHS)
  • F-53B: a combination of 9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid and 11-Chloroeicosafluoro-3-oxaundecane-1-sulfonic acid
  • Perfluoro-2-{[perfluoro-3-(perfluoroethoxy)-2-propanyl]oxy}ethanesulfonic acid, also known as Nafion BP2

The Drinking Water Treatability Database contains information on many different contaminants, not just PFAS. EPA researchers continue to expand and improve information in the database.  

Learn more about EPA’s PFAS research
 

Background

On April 27, 2021, EPA Administrator Regan called for the creation of a new “EPA Council on PFAS” that is charged with building on the agency’s ongoing work to better understand and ultimately reduce the potential risks caused by these chemicals. To address these challenges and meet the needs of our partners and communities across the United States, Administrator Regan directed the EPA Council on PFAS (ECP) to: 

  • Develop “PFAS 2021-2025 – Safeguarding America’s Waters, Air and Land,” a multi-year strategy to deliver critical public health protections to the American public.
  • Prioritize partnerships and collaboration within EPA and with our federal, state, tribal and local partners.
  • Continue to engage with the public about the risk associated with these chemicals. 

Webinar: PFAS Analytical Challenges and Opportunities

June 3, 2021, 11 am CDT
Register here.

“Overview of PFAS Analytical Challenges and Opportunities” by Janice L. Willey

Over the past few years, the analysis of PFAS has been evolving. During this period, PFAS analyses needs have grown from evaluation a few PFAS in drinking water to evaluation an extensive list of PFAS in almost every media imaginable. This presentation will highlight some of the more significant analytical challenges we have faced along the way and provide a brief summary of some of the efforts currently underway to address them.

Developing Analytical Methods for Comprehensive Profiling of PFAS in AFFF Impacted Environmental Matrices” by Dr. Jinxia Liu ( SERDP Project ER19-1157 Webpage)

This presentation focuses on a SERDP project to develop improved analytical methods for PFAS originating from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF). Except for drinking water (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] Method 537), standardized procedures for PFAS analysis in environmental matrices are not readily available. The suite of legacy PFAS routinely analyzed in various laboratories does not capture all the dominant anionic, cationic, and zwitterionic PFAS occurring at AFFF-impacted sites. In this project, we will provide results from extensive optimization and validation experiments to allow establishing standardized methods. We will create guidance to end-users regarding choices of quantitation approaches and associated potential limitations. This presentation will highlight the latest progress made towards improving analytical methods with a focus on the following: (1) compound-specific PFAS methods using liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS); (2) determining total PFAS via the Total Oxidizable Precursor assay; and, (3) determining total PFAS via Total Extractable Organic Fluorine content. We will also illustrate to what extent current sample storage and hold time protocols, sample preparation procedures, and instrumental methods for legacy PFAS can be transferred as-is to dozens of newly-identified polyfluorinated analytes.

Assessing and Mitigating Bias in PFAS Levels during Ground and Surface Water Sampling by Dr. Jennifer Field ( SERDP Project ER19-1205 Webpage)

This presentation will cover a SERDP project aimed at determining the factors that impact PFAS stratification in water columns (wells and surface water) that may result in artifacts in measured PFAS concentrations. The project team is conducting laboratory experimentation on model groundwater wells and surface water to identify sampling approaches that may introduce bias. Field sampling materials were extracted and analyzed for PFAS background, and databases on field equipment blanks were examined to look for pattens of PFAS background. Field sampling of surface water was conducted to determine if the presence of foam or surface microlayer has the potential to impact measured PFAS in bulk surface water. Other issues, such as storage of samples with and without headspace, are also being examined. As shown by results to date, the greatest potential for impacting measured PFAS concentrations includes foam or the microlayer when sampling surface waters. Equipment blanks from 67 Department of Defense (DoD) bases indicate no systemic bias introduced by field sampling, and stratification in model groundwater wells does not impact measured PFAS concentrations with wells. Field sampling materials are unlikely to cause positive PFAS artifacts unless they come in direct contact with the actual sample. Sampling guidance is being refined to reflect the new findings and offer a science-based alternative to current restrictive field sampling guidance documents.

Protecting local water has global benefits

Read the full story from the University of Minnesota.

A new article demonstrates why keeping local lakes and other waterbodies clean produces cost-effective benefits locally and globally.

Sunlight, nanoparticles, and magnets wipe out toxic algae

Read the full story in Centered.

Rising temperatures are contributing to the increase in blue-green algae blooms, especially in Midwestern waterways. Students and faculty at Southern Illinois University received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to advance a concept that combines sunlight and nanomaterials to combat algae blooms.

Caterpillar commits to reduce emissions, boost safety under new ESG goals

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Leading construction and mining equipment manufacturer Caterpillar announced today the launch of a broad range of 2030 ESG goals, encompassing environment, climate and safety targets.

There’s no need to control PFAS as a class, industry scientists say

Read the full story at Chemical & Engineering News.

The number of commercial per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that need screening for possible regulation number in the hundreds, not thousands, industrial chemists say (Integr. Environ. Assess. Manage. 2021, DOI: 10.1002/ieam.4450).

Their analysis counters a policy proposal in the European Union that would restrict production and use of most PFAS—persistent synthetic chemicals designed to resist degradation—as a single class. Exposure to PFAS that are metabolically active is linked to cancer, immune system problems, developmental problems, and other health effects.

Vermont governor signs first-in-nation restrictions on toxic PFAS chemicals

Read the full story at Vermont Business News.

On Tuesday, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed(link is external) into law a nation-leading bill that restricts the sale of consumer products that contain toxic chemicals known as PFAS. The bill bans PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam, food packaging, ski wax, and carpets, rugs, and stain-resistant treatments.

S20 was supported by Vermont environmental advocates, firefighters, educators, public health experts, children’s advocates, and businesses.

As a Black climate activist, racism gets in my way

Read the full story at Grist.

White activists wonder why Black communities aren’t more climate-focused. Allies know that fighting racial injustice is the first step.

Federal boost helps tech race from lab to car

Read the full story in Centered.

Connected, autonomous, and electric vehicle technologies are all the rage. A lot of transportation research and development in this space is happening in the Midwest, and it’s not all at the corporate level. 

In some cases, the young minds at universities and their mentors in the lab are leading the charge. Some of the newest transportation efficiency innovations are racing directly from university to market with a boost from a federal government program intended to speed technology commercialization. In fact, some of them might already be in your car.

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