PFAS Update XIII: “PFAS: Why the Hysteria”

PFAS Update XIII: Throughout the U.S., PFAS and Emerging Contaminants are Now A Major Concern – That’s Why the Hysteria

Our first article in the U.S. section titled, “PFAS: Why the Hysteria” from the National Law Review, sets the stage for our thirteenth monthly SGS PFAS Update. Every month our story research gets denser because more toxic sites are being uncovered, more laws are being proposed and more commentary is being written. With the national articles and articles from 15 states, you are bound to find helpful information.

Our feature article presents solid science from one of our own PFAS experts, Dr. Bharat Chandramouli, who asks the question, Can bile acids found in plasma, eggs, liver and other biological samples interfere with PFAS analysis?

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Featured Article

Bile Acid Interferences in PFAS Analysis
Dr. Bharat Chandramouli, Product Manager and Senior Scientist, SGS AXYS
Can bile acids found in plasma, eggs, liver and other biological samples interfere with PFAS analysis? Yes! But there are ways to avoid these interferences and produce reliable data.

PFAS: Why the Hysteria?
Consider this: as recently as a year ago, the term “PFAS” was relatively unknown to many lawyers, engineers and other environmental professionals. The following are seven reasons, as well as many points of reference, that help explain the current PFAS landscape in the U.S..

EPA Continues Progress Under PFAS Action Plan
WASHINGTON ⁠— As part of the EPA’s extensive efforts to help communities address PFAS under the PFAS Action Plan, the Agency is releasing the Systematic Review Protocol for five PFAS toxicity assessments for a 45-day public comment period. By the end of the year, EPA will issue its proposed regulatory determination for PFOA and PFAS which is the next step in the drinking water standard setting process outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

EPA Proposes Testing Methods for Five Additional Kinds of PFAS
WASHINGTON – The EPA, on November 9, proposed new testing methods that will eventually measure the toxicity of five additional kinds of PFAS. They are often called “forever chemicals” because they remain in the body for years.

Army Ramps Up Efforts to Address PFAS at Installations
WIESBADEN, Germany — In July, the Department of Defense announced a task force to address polyfluoroalkyl substances at U.S. installations located overseas and stateside. The military services, as a result, are beefing up efforts to test for and remediate PFAS, including garrisons Army-wide.

Lowes To Phase Out Carpets and Rugs That Contain PFAS
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is phasing out carpets and rugs that contain a group of potentially harmful industrial chemicals that have been turning up in drinking water and some foods… Home Depot announced last month that it would phase out carpets and rugs containing PFAS chemicals by the end of this year.

Mark Ruffalo Pushes Congress for Action On ‘Forever Chemicals’
Actor Mark Ruffalo was on Capitol Hill recently, testifying in a House Oversight Committee meeting over how to handle a cancer-linked chemical, PFAS, that’s been leaching into the water supply.

Experts Warn PFAS Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals May Drive Obesity, Osteoporosis
WASHINGTON — A class of endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as PFAS may work as an “environmental trigger” to drive multiple adverse endocrine health effects, including obesity, thyroid dysfunction and low bone mineral density, although researchers caution that more studies on potential associations are needed.

‘Dark Waters’ Movie Poses Risk for 3M, Analyst Says
Dark Waters,” a movie about an attorney’s battle against chemical giant DuPont, could raise awareness of potentially toxic chemical use, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a note to clients Wednesday. The firm said that mining and manufacturing company 3M faces “risks from potential legislative action” that in a very extreme case could cost the company up to $102 billion.

Naval Research Lab Chemists Search for PFAS-Free Firefighting Foam
The U.S. military uses aqueous film-forming foams to rapidly extinguish fuel fires, particularly those involving aircraft. The key ingredient that makes the foams so effective is a fluorocarbon surfactant, which don’t degrade once they’re used. The Naval Research Laboratory is trying to find a replacement for AFFF that is just as effective at putting out fuel fires but does not contain any PFAS.

Chrome Plating Facilities to Meet PFAS Mandates in California
271 chrome plating facilities in California received an order from the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) mandating the investigation of PFAS at their facilities. Up until 2016, fume suppressants used by these facilities often contained PFOS, a variety of PFAS.

Pleasanton Council to Review Report on PFAS Levels in Local Water Supply
The Pleasanton City Council discussed a report from city staff about the response plan to address levels of PFAS found in the local water supply.

Air Force Academy Concludes PFAS Testing of Private Wells
The Air Force finished conducting an expanded site inspection to determine whether private drinking water wells south of the Air Force Academy have been contaminated with PFAS, stemming from the military’s use of firefighting foam.

Report Recommends Testing State’s Drinking Water for PFAS
A new report recommends public drinking water sources across Connecticut be tested in phases for potentially dangerous industrial compounds known as PFAS.

State PFAS Plan Calls for More Water Testing After Two Accidents at Bradley
Gov. Ned Lamont’s office announced that the state has completed its final action plan to address PFAS, a class of nearly 5,000 chemicals that has been linked to health problems in animals and humans.

Superfund’s Next Challenge: Small-Town PFAS Contamination
A Delaware town that discovered PFOA and PFOS in its drinking water more than a year ago may become part of the EPA’s flagship cleanup program. The EPA is proposing to add contaminated groundwater in Blades, Del., to its list of Superfund sites, which are the most contaminated in the country.

No More Toxic Plates and Forks: State Employees, Students Could Soon be Using Safer Disposable Goods
State workers and students could soon be eating with disposable plates, cups and forks free of toxic chemicals once a multi-million-dollar contract is signed this month. The proposed contract action is in line with one of the recommendations in a just-released state task force action plan and is intended to reduce human exposure to PFAS and cut the amount of PFAS products needing disposal.

Households are Awash in “Forever Chemicals”
AUGUSTA — As Maine compiles thousands of test results for soil and water contamination from an emerging class of toxic substances, consumers need look no further than their own homes for the most immediate – and persistent – exposure to these “forever chemicals.”

PFAS Chemicals Showing Up in Public Water Supplies in Maine, According To CDC
The report from Maine’s Center for Disease Control was handed to the governor’s task force on Tuesday. It found the so-called “forever chemicals” in the water supplies of 9 Maine water supplies out of 19 water systems tested so far this year.

Otsego Residents Learn Results of PFAS Testing
OTSEGO, Mich. — Health officials recently tested for PFAS, dioxins, and other contaminants from 75 private fields and properties. They collected 111 soil samples and all of them contained dioxin-like compounds. Out of the 75 properties tested, 42 of them had PFAS detected.

New PFAS Tracking Research Launches at Camp Grayling’s Airfield
A cutting-edge technology is in use for the first time at Camp Grayling’s airfield. The National Guard Bureau has partnered with companies Arcadis and Pace Analytical to pilot a real-time PFAS analysis project to map a plume of the contaminant in groundwater. It’s the initial in-field use of a mobile PFAS laboratory since its technology received federal accreditation.

Oversight Panel Slows Rule-Making Process for PFAS Regulations
Former Governor Snyder stirred controversy when he appointed business and industry representatives to the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC), a regulatory oversight board to oversee rulemaking within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. Now, that board is slowing down the advancement of new drinking water standards that limit acceptable levels of chemicals from the PFAS family in Michigan’s drinking water.

PFAS Levels in Ann Arbor Drinking Water Tick Up Again
Levels of toxic PFAS chemicals found in the city’s drinking water have ticked up again. After getting down to single-digit readings earlier this year with the help of new carbon filters at the water treatment plant — as low as 2 parts per trillion in April — levels of the harmful fluorochemicals were back to 25-29 ppt in October, city test results show.

Michigan City Sues Auto Supplier Responsible for 2.5-Year PFAS Ordeal that Cost It $3M
The Michigan community that launched statewide scrutiny of PFAS flowing from industry to waterways now is suing the company responsible for high levels of contamination entering a city-run utility.

New Hampshire
Debate Over Science and Risks Shapes 3M’s Lawsuit Against N.H.’s PFAS Water Standards
New Hampshire’s strict new limits on PFAS chemicals have been in effect for more than a month now. Officials say the regulations are based on sound science. But the court battle against them is only just beginning. The complaint is spearheaded by 3M, the chemical company that helped invent PFAS. Their partners in New Hampshire include a cattle farmer, a fertilizer company and a town water utility.

250,000 Gallons of Runoff from NH Landfill Raising Alarm About PFAS
AUGUSTA, Maine — A wastewater treatment plant in Maine’s Somerset County that discharges into the Kennebec River accepted more than 250,000 gallons of liquid runoff from a New Hampshire landfill that was potentially contaminated with the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

New Mexico
‘Everyone is Watching New Mexico’: Update Shows No Progress on PFAS Clean Up
The Air Force began investigating PFAS discharges across its installations in 2015, and the chemicals were detected in 2018 in groundwater at Cannon Air Force Base, located west of Clovis and at Holloman Air Force Base, located west of Alamogordo. The pollutants have also been detected at several dairy farms and private wells that surround the bases.

New York
NY Attorney General Sues Makers of PFOA, PFAS Foam
ALBANY — State Attorney General Letitia James is suing 3M, DuPont and a number of other chemical and firefighting foam makers for what she says is their role in contaminating the water in a number of spots across the state — from Long Island and Greene County to Oswego and Rochester — with products derived from PFOA and PFOS.                            

New Yorkers Await Toxic Chemical Testing
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – It’s unclear just when New York will move ahead with ambitious plans that were announced last year to test public water systems for three industrial chemicals. New York would become the first state to set a limit for 1,4-dioxane, a synthetic chemical found in inks, adhesives and household products such as shampoos that’s considered likely to cause cancer in humans.

North Carolina
‘Low Levels’ of Genx, Other Compounds Detected in Gray’s Creek Elementary Water
Officials with Cumberland County Schools notified parents of Gray’s Creek Elementary students that “low levels” of the potentially harmful GenX and other polyfluoroalkyl substances have been detected in drinking water testing results at the school.

Genx Got Attention. Progress on 1,4-Dioxane has Lagged Behind
1,4-Dioxane’s federal drinking water cancer risk assessment level was first established in 2013. This assessment, described by the engineer who has chased down these emerging contaminants for years, is the “gold standard” of understanding toxicity

Air Force Tests Plasma Reactor to Degrade, Destroy PFOS, PFOA
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Civilian researchers completed a two-week field demonstration here using an innovative plasma technology to degrade and destroy PFOS and PFOA, in groundwater. This was the first field demonstration of the Enhanced Contact Plasma Reactor, conducted under an Air Force Civil Engineer Center contract with primary contractor Clarkson University and teaming partner GSI Environmental.

For Bucks Families Living on Bottled Water, A Frustrating Wait for Contamination Cleanup
In August, investigators tramped again onto Angela Goodwin’s property. This time, they weren’t testing the water, which she already knew had been contaminated with chemicals from firefighting foam. Instead, they bored small holes in her West Rockhill backyard. Nearly two months later the state confirmed that her yard was also contaminated with PFAS.

Pittsburgh’s Neville Island Residents Could Have Been Drinking PFAS-Contaminated Water for a Month, Township Officials Say
PITTSBURGH—Neville Township residents may have been drinking water contaminated with toxic levels of PFAS chemicals for as long as a month, township officials said at a working board meeting Thursday.

Houston Petrochemical Fire Resulted in Commercial Waterway Pollution
HOUSTON – Researchers are uncertain about the environmental impact of toxic chemicals used to extinguish a three-day blaze at a Houston-area petrochemical storage facility after some leaked into a busy commercial waterway.

PFAS Concerns at Killington Mountain School, Other Locations
Killington Mountain School is one of three water systems found to have levels of PFAS above the state limit.

DNR Says Air National Guard in Violation for Failing to Clean Up PFAS Contamination at Truax
Wisconsin environmental regulators are threatening legal action if the state’s Air National Guard does not move swiftly to clean up toxic chemicals that have been used at Truax Field and have turned up in Madison’s water supply.