PFAS Update XV: Public Interest Elevates on Every Level

PFAS Update XV: People, Industry and Governmental Entities Interest and Action on PFAS Contamination Continues on the Upswing

PFAS contamination and other emerging contaminants are on the minds of the citizenry, industry and governmental entities. While the U.S. Congress continues to consider legislation on national drinking water standards, local and state governments, such as Illinois (see below), consider standards of their own. Contamination is found in neighborhoods, on military bases, in common products and packaging. While it’s taken decades to get to this point, public interest has exploded of late, and our PFAS Update shares the latest news from around the U.S. and Canada.

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By SGS AXYS Senior Scientist & Product Manager, Bharat Chandramouli, Ph. D., “How Does PFAS Contamination Affect Microbial Communities?”

Every month, more and more environmental professionals are turning to SGS. We continue to increase our capacity and capabilities needed to meet your PFAS and emerging contaminant analysis needs. We have the expertise, facilities and track record to provide the fast and accurate analysis you require for total compliance, and we’re always here to help.

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United States
Congress Puts PFAS SNURs on an Accelerated Timetable
A centerpiece of EPA’s PFAS Action Plan is finalizing a 2015 proposed rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) that would amend two significant new use rules (SNURs) on some 500 PFA sulfonates and long-chain perfluroalkyl carboxylates (LCPFACs). In December 2019, Congress gave EPA a hard deadline for finalizing that proposed rule: June 22, 2020. Before then, EPA must conduct another round of rulemaking to address the use of these PFAS in articles.

The House Just Voted to Regulate PFAS. Here’s What You Need to Know
The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill Friday that would set a deadline for the Environmental Protection Agency to implement a national drinking water standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS.

US Food Chain Taco Bell to Phase Out PFAS, Phthalates and BPA
US restaurant chain Taco Bell has committed to phasing out PFAS, phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) from its “consumer facing” packaging by 2025.

Study: PFAS Exposure Through Skin Causes Harm Similar to Ingestion
Exposure through the skin to the toxic fluorinated chemical once used to make Teflon could pose the same health hazards as ingesting the compound in water or food, according to a new animal study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH.

New Testing Uncovers Toxic PFAS Chemicals in Drinking Water in Dozens of Cities
WASHINGTON — An environmental advocacy group has released a new round of testing, which it says uncovered toxic PFAS chemicals in the drinking water in dozens of cities across the country. Still, the levels detected by the Environmental Working Group’s research fell generally below the level currently considered advisable by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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How Does PFAS Contamination Affect Microbial Communities?
The widespread use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) containing PFAS at airports all over the world has resulted in contamination of ground and surface water, and soil. In addition to the many ecosystem effects that are still being studied, how are microbial communities affected? Which PFAS are microbes able to degrade and how does this affect PFAS concentrations and compound distribution?

3M Will Drill, Test for PFAS Contamination at Alabama School Site
3M Co. said Monday that it will begin drilling and collecting deep-soil samples in Alabama next week as it searches for PFAS chemicals it dumped decades ago at a former landfill site that later became a middle school.

Tucson Wants Out of Requirement to Serve Treated Groundwater to Customers
Tucson wants the EPA to let it off the legal hook for serving its customers once-tainted water cleaned by a south-side treatment plant.

SCV Water Detects PFAS Chemicals in Another Well
Santa Clarita Valley’s (SCV) Water’s November 2019 quarterly well sampling PFOA and PFOS found one well in excess of the state’s nonregulatory notification levels for PFAS chemicals.

‘Forever Chemicals’ In Orange County Drinking Water To Force Widespread Well Closures
The Orange County Water District, which serves 2.5 million county residents, expects to see nearly a third of the 200 groundwater wells in its service area shut down by year’s end because of the presence of toxic PFAS, a chemical family linked to cancer, liver and kidney damage, low birth weight and other health problems.

Colorado has $500,000 Ready for PFAS Water Testing. So Far, There Are Few Takers
Colorado officials will continue to reach out to drinking water districts to encourage testing for synthetic chemicals known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances — otherwise known to the public under the PFAS acronym umbrella. The sign-up rate, however, has been minimal.

Miami Springs Tap-Water Wells Closed Due to Chemical Contamination
Three wells situated on the Miami Springs golf course have been closed for nearly six months owing to PFAS chemical contamination, according to the county.

Illinois EPA Proposes PFAS Groundwater Standards
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) released proposed draft amendments to Class I and Class II groundwater standards in Illinois last week, including adding, for the first time, standards for PFAS. This marks the start of a process allowing for stakeholder and other public input on the proposed amendments.

Denied Both Sales and Aid, Face of PFAS Wonders How to Survive
Fred Stone hasn’t been able sell his milk since November 2016 because his longtime buyer said it was too contaminated with so-called forever chemicals. But to the federal government, it isn’t contaminated enough to qualify him for a disaster aid program that’s supposed to pay farmers whose milk is polluted through no fault of their own.

State of Michigan files Lawsuit Against 17 Companies for PFAS Contamination
Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit in the fight against PFAS contamination in the state. The lawsuit was filed in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against 17 defendants, some of which include 3M and DuPont, according to a press release from the Attorney General’s office.

PFAS Found at ‘Green Ooze’ Site in Madison Heights, Officials Say
MADISON HEIGHTS (WWJ) – There have now been heavy levels of PFAS found at the source of the “green ooze” that seeped onto I-696 last month.

State Fines Air Force $1.7 Million for PFAS Contamination at Cannon AFB
The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) fined the United States Air Force $1.7 million for multiple violations of state law regarding PFAS chemicals.

Fowlerville’s Asahi Kasei Among 17 Firms Targeted in State Lawsuit Over PFAS Pollution
A Livingston County company is one of 17 targeted in a lawsuit filed Tuesday by Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nessel claims the companies deliberately concealed the dangers of PFAS.x

PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Foam in Two East Metro Creeks
State pollution regulators have found high levels of the toxic compounds called PFAS in two east metro creeks, prompting them to alert neighbors and question the effectiveness of a long-running effort to control the spread of the “forever chemicals.”

State Orders 3M to Form New Plan to Contain PFAS at Oakdale Site After Water Contamination Found
OAKDALE, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has discovered that potentially harmful chemicals are still leaching into surface water from a former 3M waste disposal site in Oakdale, despite the company’s efforts to contain them, regulators told 3M in a letter last week. The MPCA has given the 3M 45 days to come up with a new plan to keep PFAS from contaminating nearby water sources.

New Hampshire
Tough PFAS Drinking Water Rules Advance in NH Senate
CONCORD — A New Hampshire Senate committee voted unanimously to pass amended legislation that would make more protective standards for PFAS in drinking water state law.

New Jersey
DEP’s PFAS Directive to Chemical Companies Will Take ‘Years’ to Resolve
The state Department of Environmental Protection says it will take “years” to resolve its dispute with five chemical companies which it has accused of contaminating many areas of New Jersey with toxic PFAS chemicals.

New York
West Hempstead Water District Receives Grant for Improvements
The West Hempstead Water District is among several municipalities that will receive state aid for infrastructure projects that aim to improve water quality. West Hempstead has received more than $924,000 from the state Environmental Facilities Corporation. The state’s grant is a part of the $416 million to municipalities. The awards include more than $120 million for 37 projects to address emerging contaminants on Long Island.

North Carolina
People are Buying Houses Unaware of ‘Forever Chemicals’ in Their Well Water
For decades, DuPont and later Chemours spewed GenX and other PFAS chemicals into the air at a plant near a rural Cumberland County community, contaminating well water for at least 1,673 homes. Despite that, homebuilding there is booming.

Study: Brunswick County Tops National List for PFAS Contamination
Brunswick County has the highest level of PFAS contamination in its tap water among the 44 sites tested in 31 states across the country, according to a new study that was released Wednesday by on organization called Environmental Working Group (EWG).

Public Health Notice of Planned PFAS Exposure Assessment Near Former Reese AFB
The City of Lubbock Health Department wants to make the public aware of an upcoming exposure assessment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will begin an exposure assessment of PFAS in drinking water near Reese Technology Center, formerly Reese Air Force Base (AFB).

West Virginia
Marshall Graduates, Faculty Publish Research on Water Contaminants’ Effects
Marshall University graduates and faculty member Dr. Philippe Georgel of the Department of Biological Sciences in Marshall’s College of Science have published research on the effects of emerging contaminants in major waterways, including the Ohio River. Their study, published in the journal “Water,” was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Marinette Homeowner’s Well Shows Presence of PFAS Contamination
MARINETTE, Wis. (WBAY) – The state is providing “emergency drinking water” to a homeowner near Marinette after well testing showed the presence of PFAS. The property is located near an area where there is an ongoing groundwater study for PFAS contamination.

State Warns of PFAS In Fish from Lake Monona, Starkweather Creek
State health officials are warning against eating certain kinds of fish from Lake Monona after tests showed hazardous chemicals known as PFAS in fish from the lake and Starkweather Creek.