PFAS Update XIX: New Methods, Contaminated Sites and Proposed Legislation

PFAS Update XIX: New Methods, Contaminated Sites, Proposed Legislation and More As PFAS and Emerging Contaminants News Persists

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.

PFAS and emerging contaminants continue to make news. In this, our nineteenth edition of the PFAS Update, 14 states are represented as well as stories of impact across the U.S. and Canada. Featured is news from SGS AXYS, specialists in measuring Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC), of an isotope dilution method for PFAS. Among other stories are new studies connecting PFAS with miscarriages, suggested cleanups, proposed legislation, and newly revealed sites where PFAS and emerging contaminants have been located. For professionals in the field or studying the science, new information comes every day that may affect your opinions and activity.

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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.

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North America

The PFAS Isotope Dilution Method SGS AXYS is currently performing the single-lab validation for a universal isotope dilution method to measure PFAS in groundwater, surface water, wastewater, leachate, soil, sediment, biosolid, and tissue.

Study: PFAS Associated With Miscarriages
PFAS, common chemicals used to make everything from pizza boxes to take-out containers, are associated with risk of miscarriages, according to a new study from Yale.

CFC Replacements are a Source of Persistent Organic Pollution in the Arctic
Most countries began phasing out ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the early 1990s under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Replacing these refrigerants and propellants did the trick—the ozone layer recovered. However, a new analysis of Arctic ice cores points to an unintended consequence of this regulation…York University atmospheric chemist Cora Young has previously found long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Arctic ice.

EPA Takes Step Towards PFAS Legislation The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced May 18 that it has taken the next step to implement an important PFAS requirement of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA added 172 PFAS to the list of chemicals required to be reported to the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and established a 100-pound reporting threshold for these substances. The agency is publishing a final rule that officially incorporates these requirements into the Code of Federal Regulations for TRI.

PFAS Limits in Drinking Water to Take More Than a Year, EPA Says The EPA won’t be able to set drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals in the next year, agency administrator Andrew Wheeler told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday.

Superfund Sites Identified by EPA to have PFAS Contamination This map highlights 180 Superfund Sites that were identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as having PFAS contamination. The list was provided to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as part of Assistant Administrator David Ross’s response to questions for the record from Ranking Member Carper during the EPW Committee’s March 2019 hearing entitled “Examining the federal response to the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).”  

Winds Spread PFAS Pollution Far from a Manufacturing Facility Concerns about environmental and health risks of some fluorinated carbon compounds used to make non-stick coatings and fire-fighting foams have prompted manufacturers to develop substitutes, but these replacements are increasingly coming under fire themselves. To get a handle on the scope of the problem, scientists have been studying how widely these chemicals have contaminated the environment. Now, researchers report in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology that, in one case, they have dispersed more broadly than previously realized.

Decatur Officials Want Cleanup of Aquadome Site, Seek Swift Resolution of Complaints
DECATUR, Ala. — The discovery of PFAS chemical contamination at Decatur’s former Brookhaven Middle School led the board of education to threaten to sue 3M in December. The property was sold by the school board to 3M in May for $1.25 million.

Opinion: What the Future Holds for Alaskan Families Dealing with Toxic PFAS in Their Drinking Water
Long before coronavirus became a household word, Gustavus resident Kelly McLaughlin was raising her children, growing a garden and keeping chickens. After water testing in her community revealed high levels of contamination, McLaughlin and others organized for solutions to the growing public health problem caused by manufactured chemicals called PFAS.

Orange County Water Districts Consider Massive Lawsuit Over PFAS Contamination
Nine Orange County water agencies have retained a legal team to study whether to file suit to recoup the $1 billion or more it could cost to purify drinking water in local wells contaminated with PFAS chemicals and to pay for more expensive imported water in the interim.

Some Industrial Sites in Indiana may be Discharging Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals,’ Report Says
About one-hundred industrial facilities in Indiana could be discharging toxic “forever chemicals” also known as PFAS substances, according to a new report.

Study: PFAS in Carpets a Major Exposure Source for Children
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.—Children can be exposed to a toxic medley of PFAS from carpets, according to a peer-reviewed study, co-authored by an Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs scientist, published today in Chemosphere.

Restrictions Expanded Near Former Wurtsmith Air Base After PFAS Found in Most Wildlife
State officials last year — too quietly, some contend — expanded hunting and fishing restrictions at Clark’s Marsh, near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, after scientific studies showed excessive levels of PFAS in virtually every living creature tested from the area.

161 Pellston Residential and Businesses Wells Sampled for PFAS
Michigan’s PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) as well as health officials held a virtual meeting recently to update the residents of Pellston on the PFAS issue. Since February, 161 residential and business wells have been sampled for PFAS contamination. 14 of the wells have been found with PFAS contamination above the 70 parts per trillion that is allowed by the EPA.

Portage Water Well Tests Positive for Low Level of PFAS
PORTAGE, MI — Routine quarterly testing of the city’s municipal water, conducted by the state, turned up a low level of fluoro-chemical contamination in one of the city’s wells. According to a news release from the city, the 2020 first quarter testing results show that samples from a Portage municipal well tested above non-detect levels for PFAS at 16 parts per trillion (ppt).

Michigan State Launches New Center for PFAS Research
An interdisciplinary group of researchers at Michigan State University is collaborating to form the Michigan State Center for PFAS Research, a new initiative to explore the health and environmental consequences of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Avoid the Foam on Battle Creek, Pollution Officials Say After Tests Find Chemicals
State pollution officials are warning people not to touch foam on the surface of Battle Creek after confirming potentially harmful chemicals were found in samples taken in the past year. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in January asked 3M to come up with a new strategy for keeping perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances — known as PFAS — from leaching into surface waters near their old waste disposal site in Oakdale.

New Hampshire
EPA Recognizes AFCEC-led Cleanup Success
The Environmental Protection Agency is recognizing an Air Force Civil Engineer Center environmental coordinator and his team for work they’re doing to treat contaminated water at the former Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire.

New Jersey
Affirming National Leadership Role, New Jersey Publishes Formal Stringent Drinking Water Standards for PFOA And PFOS
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection officially published its adoption of stringent, health-based drinking water standards for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), chemicals that are extremely persistent in the environment and have been linked to various health problems in people.

New York
Cohoes Incinerator Found to be Burning Toxic Chemicals, Polluting Nearby Areas
A report from Bennington College indicated that the Norlite Incinerator plant contaminated the city of Cohoes and surrounding areas with Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, from burning aqueous firefighting foam, a chemical that is linked to a variety of cancers  and has been produced in the United States since the 1940s.

Village Approves $3 Million Contract for Water Remediation
Contracts totaling nearly $3 million dollars were awarded to treat the village water supply for emerging contaminant 1,4 dioxane with the AOP (Advanced Oxidation Processes) as the Board of Trustees made an emergency declaration to forego the competitive bidding…

Tiny, Self-assembling Traps Capture Dangerous Pollutants, PFAS
University at Buffalo chemists have shown that self-assembling molecular traps can be used to capture PFAS — dangerous pollutants that have contaminated drinking water supplies around the world.

North Carolina
Residents Near Fayetteville Sue Chemours, DuPont for GenX Water Contamination
More than 200 people who live near the Chemours Co. chemical factory south of Fayetteville filed a federal lawsuit against the company and its predecessor, DuPont de Nemours Inc., citing the GenX and PFAS contamination of their property and water supplies.

North Carolina Bill Would Ban Most Products Containing PFASs North Carolina legislators are considering a handful of measures to address PFASs, including one bill that would ban the full substance class.

A Better Evil? Evaluating the Risk of GenX Pollution in Cincinnati
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp feeds her garden from rain barrels and her family from the Big Berkey. It’s a $400 water filter that removes toxins from tap water…“The reviews show that it does take the PFAS out of there and a lot of the heavy metals as well as biological pathogens that you have to worry about.”

Vermont Senate Passes Bill to Protect Vermont Firefighters and Families from Toxic Chemicals On May 22, Vermont Senate passed legislation (S.295) to ban PFAS and other toxic chemicals from certain products. The bill is supported by firefighters, business groups, educators, public health and children’s advocates, and environmental groups. It now heads to the Vermont House for consideration.

West Virginia
West Virginia Suit Filed Over Exposure to Firefighting Foam
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Seven companies have been named in a lawsuit related to the contamination of a West Virginia city’s water supply from firefighting foam.

Rhinelander Spread Tons of Sludge Near Site Of Contaminated Wells, WXPR Investigation Finds A WXPR investigation has found over a seven-year period in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the City of Rhinelander spread almost 400 tons of sewage sludge at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport. Later, the city built two municipal water wells near the place where some of the sludge was spread. Last year, those wells were found to have high levels of PFAS, a chemical with known health risks.

New Report Shows High Levels of PFAS in Madison Airport Runoff
New test results show water draining from the Madison airport contains harmful PFAS compounds at thousands of times the concentrations considered safe by other states.

Wisconsin Surface Water Testing Finds PFAS Compounds in 100% of Samples
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received results from surface water and sediment sampling performed in November 2019. The testing targeted an area of the Milwaukee Estuary where PFAS compounds were found in sediment and surface water samples. 13 locations including one in Lake Michigan were sampled for 35 PFAS compounds.

DNR Directs Military to Comply with State Groundwater Regulations
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has issued a formal letter to the U.S. Army cautioning the military that it must fully comply with state environmental regulations in pending cleanup decisions at the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant (Badger) located in rural Sauk County, west of Merrimac.