PFAS Update XVIII: Firefighters, Skiers, Fish and More Affected by PFAS/Emerging Contaminants


As SGS joins the rest of the globe in navigating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and providing services related to cleaning verification for buildings and ships, the health and safety of our clients, staff, families and communities is always our top priority. As we offer you news on PFAS and emerging contaminants, we wish you and yours the best of health.  

With the entire world focused, for good reason, on the COVID-19 pandemic, news on PFAS and emerging contaminants is still plentiful – new discovery sites, new science, ongoing lawsuits, attempts at legislation, product and people contamination, and more.

One thing is for certain: the interest in PFAS and emerging contaminants is not waning. In this, our eighteenth PFAS Update, we even traverse through Norway and Germany where skiers and US soldiers, respectively, are being exposed to these contaminants. Additionally, in the science world, SGS AYXS recently played a role in an important research study about optimizing universal PFAS extractions.

SGS remains your first, best and one stop for the capacity, expertise, facilities and track record needed to provide fast and accurate analysis on PFAS and emerging contaminants analysis. We’re always here to help.

Click on SGS PFAS/emerging contaminants analysis capabilities, and see why SGS delivers what you need every step of way.

Better Together: Integrating New Capabilities

SGS offers the full complement of environmental, health and safety analytical services at multiple laboratories across the United States and Canada for soil, water, air, and bulk materials. SGS is your one-stop for all your environmental analytical needs.

To find out how we can best help you with your PFAS analysis, call +1 800 329 0204 or email We look forward to hearing from you soon.

United States and Around the World
Extracting Cationic and Zwitterionic PFAS from AFFF-Contaminated Soils
SGS AXYS had a cameo role providing total oxidizable precursor (TOP) data on this study by Nickerson et al. out of the Chris Higgins research group.

For Skiers, There’s a Contaminant Underfoot
A November 2019 study, published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science and Technology journal, tested soil, earthworms and small rodents called bank voles living near a Nordic ski area in Norway, in search of perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Voles within the ski area had as much as six times the amount of PFAS in their livers as voles outside it, and the ski area’s earthworms had similarly elevated numbers.

Study Shows Women Firefighters with Higher Levels of PFAS
Jessica Trowbridge, the lead author of a new study published in February 2020, was concerned about what female firefighters in San Francisco were perceiving as an increased risk of breast cancer. Together with her colleagues, she compared blood samples gathered from female firefighters to those gathered from female office workers in San Francisco. She then tested those samples looking for PFAS chemicals.

PFAS May Have a lot In Common with Carcinogens
A new review of 26 PFAS substances is raising concerns about characteristics that the chemicals share with known carcinogens. “Our research has shown that PFAS impact biological functions linked to an increased risk of cancer,” warns toxicologist and primary author of the study, Alexis Temkin, Ph.D.

How Are Scientists Tackling Difficult Drinking Water Contaminants?
There exists a huge variety of different potential sources for water contamination — ranging from the physical silt and sediment that collects naturally in riverbeds, to harmful water-borne microbes, to manmade chemicals…PFAS are one such family of contaminants that are particularly problematic to treat.

UPDATED MAP: Suspected and Confirmed PFAS Pollution at US Military Bases
The toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS are now confirmed or suspected at 678 military installations, according to EWG’s updated analysis of Defense Department records.

Health-damaging PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ likely released at 2,500 sites
April 9 (UPI) — More than 2,500 industrial operations in the United States most likely are releasing toxic perfluoroalkyl chemicals, or PFAS, into air and water supplies, a report based on federal data says.

‘Forever Chemicals’ are Hundreds of Times Over Safe Levels at Katterbach Kaserne Site in Germany
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Toxic chemicals known as PFAS are present in soil at disused firefighting training sites at Katterbach Kaserne in Bavaria at levels up to 225 times higher than what’s considered safe, a U.S. Army report published by German officials said.

Sewage sludge spreading leads to farm groundwater PFAS contamination
The long-standing practice of spreading treated sewage sludge and septage on farm fields has contaminated groundwater in some areas with PFAS.

Military Waste Burned in State Despite Contamination Fear
When the U.S. military recently sought to get rid of a stockpile of firefighting foam containing toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS, a facility near Arkadelphia accepted large quantities of the chemical waste and incinerated it, despite concerns from environmental advocates about the safety of the process.

DAFB installs filters at some area wells with high PFAS levels
The Dover Air Force Base recently took steps to help nearby property owners affected by groundwater contamination from the base.

More Wells in White Pigeon to be Tested for PFAS
Fourteen more homes in White Pigeon will have wells tested for PFAS contamination, but not until the COVID-19 emergency passes, said Paul Andriaachi, environmental health director at Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency.

New Hampshire
Report IDs New Potential Sources Of PFAS Pollution In New Hampshire
A new report identifies 2,500 new industrial sites that may be discharging toxic PFAS chemicals, including a handful of factories in New Hampshire.

Dover Extends Monitoring for Contaminants in Aquifer
DOVER – The City Council has approved a contract so a company can continue to monitor wells and test sites for contaminants near the Pudding Hill aquifer.

New Jersey
NJ Adopts Strict Standards on Two Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water
New Jersey is finally adopting tough new health standards for two toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water a year after proposing them and up to three years after state scientists recommended them.

New Mexico
Pentagon IDs Four More NM Sites at Risk of PFAS Contamination
The Pentagon has identified four more military sites in New Mexico that could be contaminating local waters with PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

New York
Incinerators May Spread, Not Break Down PFAS
New data suggest that commercial incineration of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) doesn’t break down these hardy chemicals. Instead, it spreads them into surrounding areas.

North Carolina
NC State Receives $7.4 Million Grant to Establish PFAS Research Center
During the past few years, researchers at N.C. State University has taken blood and tap water samples from people in the Wilmington and Fayetteville areas to assess their exposure to GenX and other PFAS chemicals. Now, with a $7.4 million federal grant announced this month, they plan to dive even deeper into how these “forever chemicals” could be affecting the health of an estimated 200,000 people who rely on the Cape Fear River or nearby private wells for their drinking water.

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Flow Freely Through This River—And Now Its Fish
Fish a striped bass out of North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, and it’s likely you’ve just hoisted up a swimming vessel for PFAS, a family of long-lasting chemicals found in many consumer products and fire-fighting foams.

How Long Will It Take to Rid PFAS from Private Wells?
As more sampling is performed, the number of private drinking water wells found to be contaminated by GenX and other “forever chemicals” continues to surge in an area surrounding the Chemours Fayetteville Works plant.

New Analysis Confirms Harmful ‘Forever Chemicals’ at Utah Military Bases
SALT LAKE CITY — A new analysis confirms drinking water or groundwater contamination at 328 installations across the country that have levels of “forever chemicals” that never break down and pose health risks.

Air Guard Base Contributes to PFAS Contamination in the Winooski River
FAS contamination has been found in groundwater and surface water — including a stretch of the Winooski River — near the Vermont Air National Guard base in South Burlington.

Washington State
Kalispel Tribe, Northern Quest file suit against 3M, Tyco Fire Products
The Kalispel Tribe of Indians, its economic authority and the Northern Quest Resort & Casino have filed a $21.27 million lawsuit against companies including 3M and Tyco Fire Products along with the United States government over chemicals used in firefighting foam that have contaminated drinking water sources in Airway Heights, including tribal lands…Fairchild Air Force Base is reported to have used firefighting foam containing PFAS and PFOS, perfluorooctanoate, in its operations.

DNR: Tyco Must Provide Drinking Water to Residents with PFAS Contaminated Wells
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has ordered a company to provide three Marinette County homeowners with bottled drinking water.