A recent “state of the science” report from the U.S. EPA Office of Research and Development calls for more research on PFAS in compost and digestate, saying there are currently too many unknowns about how the chemicals show up in such material. The report, meant “to inform food waste management decisions,” compiles the available research on PFAS and other chemical contamination found in food waste, hay and manure used for compost and anaerobic digestion.
Composts made from a variety of materials have a range of different contamination levels, the report said. Biosolids are thought to have the highest concentration of PFAS, followed by food waste, then yard waste, according to the report. Both the EPA and organics experts say a major source of PFAS in compost comes from packaging.
Organics and compost trade groups say the report unfairly scrutinizes their sector and mischaracterizes some of the data in the report. More should be done to target PFAS manufacturers and manufacturers of packaging and products known to contain the chemicals instead, said Frank Franciosi, executive director of the US Composting Council.
Read the full story from the University of Rhode Island.
The air we breathe in our homes, schools, and workplaces can be polluted with harmful PFAS chemicals, according to a study published today in Environmental Science & Technology Letters. A new measurement technique developed by the research team, led by URI Graduate School of Oceanography scientists, detected PFAS chemicals in the air of kindergarten classrooms, university offices and laboratories, and a home—some with levels as high as those measured at an outdoor clothing company and carpet stores selling PFAS-treated products. The results suggest indoor air is an underestimated and potentially important source of exposure to PFAS, particularly for children.
Read the full post from the National Association of Counties.
On September 8, the EPA released the Preliminary Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 (Preliminary Plan 15), which announces the agency’s initiation of three new rulemaking processes to reduce contaminants such as PFAS. Preliminary Plan 15 identifies existing and new industries to undergo regulatory action and provides a rulemaking schedule for such activities. Additionally, EPA will conduct studies on PFAS in wastewater discharges from landfills and other sources.
This report reviews available fate and transport models for the three primary migration pathways for PFAS in land-applied residuals: leaching to groundwater, surface water runoff, and plant uptake. Numerous models are available, but only a few are likely to be applicable to PFAS and able to account for their unique and diverse physicochemical characteristics. This review is intended to assist policy makers, regulators, and industry in their consideration of fate and transport models to apply when evaluating potential effects of PFAS in land-applied residuals and establishing appropriate screening values for PFAS in such residuals.
Read the full story at Engineering News-Record.
While awareness and regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has been on the rise, the focus has often been on their presence in firefighting foams and water-, grease- and stain-resistant products like Teflon. But the chemicals also are found in a wide variety of building materials, and the construction industry could have a significant role in limiting their use.
Read the full story in the Washington Post.
When toxicologist Linda Birnbaum’s daughter was visiting recently, she asked to stop at a store to buy eye makeup. But when the salesperson began touting the benefits of a certain waterproof mascara, Birnbaum advised her daughter to steer clear.
Why? Researchers recently found that waterproof, sweatproof and long-wearing cosmetics — so popular at this time of year — contain higher levels of a potentially toxic class of thousands of chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or (PFAS). The study was led by scientists at the University of Notre Dame and published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology Letters.
Read the full story in the Chicago Sun-Times.
More than 100 community drinking water sources in the Chicago suburbs and around the state show contamination from harmful PFAS that can pose serious health threats, records show.
Read the full story from Penn State University.
In nature, the interaction of molecules at the boundary of different liquids can give rise to new structures. These self-assembling molecules make cell formation possible and are instrumental to the development of all life on Earth.
They can also be engineered to perform specific functions—and now, a team of Penn State researchers has leveraged this opportunity to develop a material that could remove persistent pollutants from water. The researchers recently published their findings in Advanced Functional Materials.
Read the full story at the National Law Review.
The latest EPA PFAS action on Monday, July 13, 2021 shows once again that the agency is seeking to aggressively regulate certain PFAS compounds under the Safe Drinking Water Act. However, the EPA’s action on Monday is notable because it is one of the first instances in which the EPA acknowledges that it will consider potential regulation of all PFAS compounds – a class of chemicals consisting of over 9,000 substances – as opposed to just a small subset of the chemical group. This announcement should catch the eyes of any businesses in the stream of commerce that could in some way be held liable for cleanup costs due to PFAS environmental pollution. Now, more than ever, companies of all types, sizes, and positions in the stream of commerce must pay attention to the changes that we predict are coming in the next three to four fiscal quarters.