Category: PFAS

New Technique Sheds Light on PFAS in Coastal Watersheds

Download the document and read the associated journal article.

A new analytical workflow, developed by NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees, can identify and characterize previously undetected per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds in contaminated watersheds. The team is led by Elsie Sunderland, Ph.D., of the University of Rhode Island SRP Center, and SRP trainee Bridger Ruyle, a doctoral student at Harvard.

Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to ban ‘forever chemicals’ in cosmetics as study finds them prevalent

Read the full story from The Hill.

Bipartisan legislation introduced Tuesday would ban the use of so-called forever chemicals in cosmetics, on the heels of a study indicating their presence in more than 100 makeup products.

The study, published Tuesday in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, found per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in more than half of 231 products in eight categories. The highest levels were found in foundation, mascara and liquid lipstick products, according to the study, with most of them not listing PFAS compounds among their ingredients.

The No PFAS in Cosmetics Act, introduced in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), would ban the use of PFAS chemicals in cosmetics and require the Food and Drug Administration to propose a rule banning intentionally using them in cosmetics.

Assessment of Methods to Collect and Analyze Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Air, Dust and Soil

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Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) comprise a class of over 4,000
human-made chemicals that are commonly used in consumer products and industrial
applications due to their water- and lipid-repellent characteristics. PFASs have been used for
decades in a wide array of products, including food packaging materials, nonstick cookware,
fire-fighting foams, waxes, furniture, stain-repellant fabrics, carpets and pesticides.

In the early 2000s, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),
considered “long-chain” PFASs because of their eight carbon structure, were voluntarily phased
out by US manufactures due to environmental and human health concerns, leading to a decline
in their use. The continued use of substitute PFASs, however, and the highly persistent nature
and mobility of these compounds has resulted in ongoing environmental PFAS contamination
and human exposure throughout California. These compounds may be airborne, settle into dust
or soil, or be present in drinking water. Consequently, human exposure may occur through
inhalation, ingestion of contaminated drinking water, or non-dietary ingestion when present in
residential environments, the latter of which is typically seen among young children due to hand to-mouth behaviors. As in the general US population, there is widespread PFAS exposure in
California. We identified over a dozen studies reporting detectable levels of PFASs in serum
from California residents, including several large studies conducted by Biomonitoring California,
a collaborative program between the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California
Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal/EPA’s) Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment (OEHHA) and Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Following a review of the available scientific literature, we found that there is ample
evidence to demonstrate that exposure to PFASs can lead to adverse health effects in humans.
In this White Paper, we summarized the epidemiological evidence for the health outcomes
identified by the US EPA, C8 Science Panel, ASTDR, and recent systematic reviews of the
literature. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the United States (US)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have classified certain PFASs as possibly carcinogenic
to humans, and OEHHA has listed PFOS and PFOA as a Proposition 65 developmental
toxicants.

Despite the wide variety of chemicals that are classified as PFASs, only PFOA and PFOS
have been studied extensively for their toxicity and fate and transport in the environment. While
there has been extensive monitoring of drinking water for PFASs in California, the relative lack
of data on PFAS levels in air, soil, and dust makes linking PFAS sources to levels in
environmental media and human exposure pathways challenging.

Several California agencies have recently taken steps to better understand and prevent
PFAS exposures from environmental media, including new monitoring and notification water
standards set by the California Water Resources Control Board. The California Air Resources
Board (CARB) and other agencies that are concerned about emissions of these chemicals have
been hampered in their response due to the lack of a standardized methodology for measuring
PFASs in outdoor air.

PFAS leachate treatment breaking down the bond barrier

This two-part series at Waste360 takes a deep dive into why it is so difficult to remove PFAS chemicals from leachate. The two articles are:

Dyeing, printing, & finishing: PFAS – a textile perspective

Read the full story in Textile World.

Despite the textile industry’s limited use of PFAS materials, future regulation may impact producers of performance fabrics.

FDA considers petition to ban PFAS food uses, as companies move toward phase-out

Read the full post at JD Supra.

A coalition of environmental, food safety, and consumer health advocacy groups petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday to ban per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from food contact uses, and to “take aggressive action to protect consumers from all PFCs [per- and poly-fluorinated compounds].”

It could soon be illegal for Sauget company to burn group of chemicals linked to cancer

Read the full story in the Belleville News-Democrat.

It could soon be illegal for Illinois companies to incinerate a class of potentially cancer-causing substances known as “forever chemicals” because they accumulate in the body and environment without breaking down.

A bill to ban burning the chemicals — known as PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances — passed the General Assembly over the Memorial Day weekend. It was awaiting Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s signature as of Tuesday and would go into immediate effect.

Southwestern Illinoisans who live with poor air quality have raised concerns for years that an incinerator in Sauget operated by hazardous waste disposal company Veolia could burn PFAS, which is found in common household items and in firefighting foam used by the Air Force to extinguish aviation fuel fires.

These pets have high levels of forever chemicals in their blood. Has that made them sick?

Read the full story at North Carolina Health News.

N.C. State researchers tested for PFAS in 31 dogs and 35 horses living near the chemical plant. They found at least one measurable type of PFAS in every dog tested and all but one horse. Some of the levels were staggering.

Practical Solutions to Manage PFAS Risks: A Webinar for Buyers, Sellers, Owners and Operators

June 8, 2021, 11am-1pm CDT
Register here.

Please join Holland & Knight and Ramboll for an informative CLE presentation on managing risks for buyers, sellers, owners and operators of properties where per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) could be present.

This is not an introductory webinar on PFAS. Rather, our panel of speakers will share practical solutions to identify and mitigate risks related to PFAS for those interested in acquiring a business, operating a business without knowledge that PFAS issues exist, conducting site investigation/remediation activities in response to known PFAS issues and divesting the property. Our panel will also identify environmental legal issues and ethical considerations that in-house counsel may encounter in these scenarios.

The presentation will be split up into four main areas:

  • Acquisition
  • Operations
  • Divestiture
  • Investigation/Remediation of PFAS-Contaminated Sites

A case study will be used to illustrate specific challenges and regulatory compliance considerations for each scenario. Panelists will leave time at the end for a Q&A session. We hope you can join us for this highly informative presentation.

Moderator

  • Stephen J. Humes  |  Partner, Holland & Knight

Speakers

  • Dianne R. Phillips  |  Partner, Holland & Knight
  • Meaghan A. Colligan  |  Associate, Holland & Knight
  • Eric S. Wood  |  PHg, LSP, Principal, Ramboll

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. 

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