USEPA Releases PFAS health advisories
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Two of the health advisories are interim, for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and two are final, for hexafluoropropylene dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX) and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS).
The American Water Works Association (AWWA) issued the following statement:
The health advisories provide states and water utilities with a reference point as they evaluate potential contamination and appropriate responses to assure the safety of drinking water. The PFOA and PFOS advisory levels are extremely low and do not reflect the draft recommendations of EPA’s own expert Science Advisory Board review. The health advisory levels at parts per quadrillion, undetectable by modern laboratory methods.
At the national level, EPA is already in the process of setting maximum contaminant levels for PFAS within the scientifically rigorous framework of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). A proposal is expected in the fall. Through the SDWA regulatory process, many utilities are sampling for PFOA, PFOS and other PFAS to better understand where they occur and at what levels. They are sharing that information with their communities. It’s important that EPA complete this rulemaking process so that states, utilities, and consumers have a clear and consistent path forward for managing harmful levels of PFAS in drinking water.
These four health advisories reflect potential risk assuming 70 years of exposure. EPA’s support materials appropriately point consumers toward opportunities to reduce PFAS exposure in their daily lives, be it exposure through drinking water, food, dust, or other routes.
CWWA’s Drinking Water Quality Committee is monitoring the situation, and preparing a fact sheet in case our members get media inquiries based on the increased attention on these compounds. Health Canada has Drinking Water Guidelines for PFAS and PFOS, and are continuing to monitor the available science if these levels need to be adjusted.