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Several States Dealing with PFCs, Emerging Drinking Water Contaminant

January 26, 2018


drinking water Several states have recently adopted, proposed or updated drinking water advisory limits or enforceable standards for several Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) - primarily perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), as well as perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). 

PFCs are synthetic compounds that have been used in a variety of applications to make everyday products that are resistant to stains, grease and water including, but not limited to: non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and sofas, waterproof clothing, cable and wire insulation, food packaging and firefighting foam.

PFOS and PFOA are of particular concern because they are persistent (meaning they take a very long time to break down in the environment) and can “bioaccumulate” or build up in certain living organisms.

Vermont currently has the lowest groundwater enforcement standard in the nation at 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS; however, New Jersey has recently decided to adopt 14 ppt for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFNA.  Michigan has pending legislation that if passed, would be the lowest enforceable drinking water standard in the nation at 5 ppt.  No federal drinking water standards such as maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) have been established for PFOA or PFOS, although the EPA has adopted a drinking water health advisory level of 70 ppt for these two chemicals.    

A replacement chemical for PFOA known as GenX (Perfluoro-2-propoxypropanoic acid) has garnered recent attention in North Carolina where it was detected in the Cape Fear watershed, which serves a nearby municipal drinking water system.  Other states are now considering to test for GenX.  There is little known about the potential environmental and health effects of exposure to GenX; however, exposure studies are now underway.  In July 2017, the North Carolina Department of Health adopted a provisional drinking water health goal of 140 ppt for GenX.       

ATC has EPA-approved Generic Quality Assurance Project Plans (GQAPPs) in several states. The Plans include several laboratories that provide PFC analysis that meets the stringent federal Quality Control requirements. In addition to testing, ATC can assist with regulatory communication, water treatment systems and other remedies.  Contact us if we can be of assistance.

About this blog

Welcome to our postings on the environment and regulatory impact.  We strive to keep you informed with the latest changes in regulations and with lessons learned from our time in the field


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