PFAS Update XXVI: 2021 Brings More Activity on PFAS and Emerging Contaminants

PFAS Update XXVI: Across the U.S., PFAS News is Plentiful, Including Concerns on PFAS Effect on Covid-19 Vulnerability

As SGS joins the rest of the globe in navigating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and providing services related to both cleaning verification for buildings and ships, and indoor air testing for the virus, 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.                                                                                                                    

We thankfully begin the new year and put 2020 behind us. As you will read in this SGS PFAS Update XXVI, PFAS and emerging contaminants are still on our minds. Concerns exist among scientists that communities with elevated PFAS exposure may be more susceptible to Covid-19 and also question the efficacy of the vaccine to this population.

Meanwhile, you can read below about activity in 14 states from New York to California where toxic substances are being banned, lawsuits filed, PFAS contamination newly identified and much more. Happy New Year to all our readers with wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2021.

SGS laboratories in Wilmington, NC and Orlando, FL are now accredited for EPA 533, an SPE LC-MS/MS method that identifies PFAS substances in drinking water. More here. We’re your 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.

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.



PFAS Disposal Technologies are Most Promising, US EPA says
Three technologies offer the best potential for disposing PFAS substances while keeping these “forever chemicals” out of the environment, the US Environmental Protection Agency says.

Scientists Consider PFAS, COVID-19 and Vaccine Efficacy
Scientists and toxicology experts say PFAS chemicals known to affect the immune system could impact the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. While the link has not yet been cemented, they are concerned that communities with high exposures to PFAS may be more vulnerable during the pandemic.

Amazon Bans Certain Chemicals and Plastics in Food Packaging
Amazon has revealed that it will ban certain chemicals and plastics in food packaging used for its Amazon Kitchen brand. PFAS, phthalates, BPA (bisphenol A) and other bisphenols, and the plastics polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic, polystyrene (PS), and expanded polystyrene (EPS) plastic are on the list of restricted substances in food contact packaging.

U.S. Military Responsible for Widespread PFAS Pollution In Japan
While communities across the U.S. have been struggling with massive pollution from the military’s use of firefighting foam that contains PFAS, Japan has awoken to its own environmental crisis from the industrial chemicals in the foam.

PFAS Discovered in Hundreds of Products
Scientists have detailed more than 200 uses of PFAS chemicals in 64 industrial areas, including mining, book conservation, plastics production, photography, printing, watchmaking, car manufacturing, air conditioning, fingerprinting, and particle physics. Many of the uses, which are laid out in an article published in the journal Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, were previously unknown.   

New Interim Strategy Will Address PFAS Through Certain EPA-Issued Wastewater Permits
The EPA announced two important steps to address PFAS. First, EPA issued a memorandum detailing an interim National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting strategy for addressing PFAS in EPA-issued wastewater permits. Second, EPA released information on progress in developing new analytical methods to test for PFAS compounds in wastewater and other environmental media.

ADEQ Announces Actions to Protect the City of Tucson’s Drinking Water Supply
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday that it has begun field work to address the Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) threat to the City of Tucson’s drinking water supply.

Truckee Firefighters Cease Usage of Fluorine-based Foam
The Truckee Fire Protection District has announced it will no longer use fluorine-based foams to fight Class B fires due to the chemical’s staying properties and potential to pollute the local water supply.

California Continues on the PFAS Regulatory Vanguard by Banning PFAS In Cosmetics
On October 1, 2020, California passed a law identified as the Toxic Free Cosmetics Act. The Act will prohibit, beginning on January 1, 2025, the manufacturing or selling of any cosmetic product with any intentionally added amount of 24 specified chemicals. The specific list of chemicals includes certain phthalates, formaldehyde, mercury, and PFAS.

State To Study Level of PFAS Reaching Colorado’s Crops
State agencies are assessing new data compiled by Colorado researchers that suggests a family of toxic chemicals could be reaching the state’s vegetables – and potentially consumers – through contaminated irrigation.

Emergency Response to PFAS Detection in Blades, DE
Blades, Del., provides drinking water to more than 1,300 residential and business locations throughout the community. After establishing a central water supply in 1981, the town had a safe and clean drinking water supply for almost 36 years. However, that changed on February 8, 2018, when PFAS, specifically PFOA and PFOS, were detected in three public wells, impacting more than 1,250 residents and businesses.

‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in 18 Private Wells Near Fairfield Dairy Farm
More than a dozen homeowners in the town of Fairfield are being advised to use bottled water after their well water was found to be tainted with high levels of “forever chemicals.”

‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Pesticide Used on Millions of Mass. Acres When Spraying for Mosquitoes
For two decades, state environmental officials have used a controversial pesticide to kill mosquitoes in Massachusetts, spraying millions of acres from the air and ground to reduce the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis. Now, after years of criticism from environmental advocates who have long raised health concerns about the expensive treatment known as Anvil 10+10, the pesticide has been found to also contain an array of PFAS.

PFAS Study Begins in West Michigan
A study on the health effects of PFAS is underway in Parchment and Cooper Township as well as the Belmont and Rockford areas. People in all four communities drank water contaminated with PFAS. Now the state is hoping those people will let researchers track their health over several years.

PFAS Cleanup Investigation to Begin at Alpena Base
Contractors will soon determine the best way to clean up PFAS, at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs said in a news release.

Investigation Targets Discharges of Next-Generation ‘Forever Chemicals’ from 3M’s Cottage Grove Plant
State and federal pollution regulators are investigating 3M Co.’s reporting on next-generation “forever chemicals” discharged from its Cottage Grove plant into the Mississippi River, even as Minnesota struggles to address ever-growing contamination from the original versions the manufacturer no longer makes.

New Jersey
PFAS/Natural Resource Damages: New Jersey Attorney General Files Cost Recovery Action Against Gloucester County Facility

The New Jersey Attorney General filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division (“Gloucester County”) against Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC (“Solvay”); Arkema Inc. (“Arkema”); and ABC Corporations 1-10 (Names Fictitious). The Complaint and Jury Trial Demand alleges that Solvay and Arkema are responsible for contamination related to PFAS originating from a Gloucester County facility.

New York
LI Group Tied to Chemical Company Files Suit to Overturn New Water Standards
A lawsuit backed by a major chemical company seeks to overturn the state’s new drinking water standard for the likely carcinogen 1,4-dioxane.

‘Do Not Drink’ Water Advisory Issued for Village of Mayville Water Customers
The New York State and Chautauqua County Health Departments have issued a “do not drink” water advisory for Village of Mayville water customers until further notice, according to a news release issued Thursday evening.

Cuomo Approves Ban on PFAS in Food Packaging
A ban on the usage of PFAS in food packaging was approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Tests Show Household Products Have 1,4-Dioxane Levels That Exceed Upcoming Tighter NYS Limits
Nearly 70% of dishwashing soap tested by a state-funded pollution prevention group had detections of 1,4-dioxane at levels higher than soon-to-be implemented state standards.  

Gov. Cuomo Signs “Norlite” Bill Banning Burning PFAS-Laden Firefighting Foam
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill banning the burning of aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS chemicals in cities designated Environmental Justice areas. The new law is tailored specifically for Cohoes.

Newly Released Data Disclose Navy Knew of PFAS  in Groundwater at Grumman ‘Fence Line’ in 2016
Data released by the Navy this week for the first time show significant detections of toxic PFAS chemicals at the southern border of the former aerospace manufacturing site.

Gov. Cuomo Signs “Norlite” Bill Banning Burning PFAS-Laden Firefighting Foam
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill banning the burning of aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS chemicals in cities designated Environmental Justice areas. The new law is tailored specifically for Cohoes.  

North Carolina
Pittsboro Task Force Recommends “Deep Discounts” So Poor Residents Can Afford Clean Drinking Water
Pittsboro’s drinking water has been found to contain high levels of PFAS and other potentially carcinogenic compounds. A task force has spent the last year studying long- and short-term remedies to the problem. It recommends the town buy in-home filtration systems in bulk and sell them to residents at a reduced price.

Health Department: Residents Near Aullwood Should Test Their Wells
Dayton & Montgomery County and the Ohio Department of Health have told 180 home owners near the Aullwood Audubon Farm Discovery Center to test their private wells for pollutants that can cause harm to both animals and humans.

Bucks, Montgomery Area PFAS Study Begins Recruitment This Spring
Recruitment for a study into the long-term health effects of PFAS exposure in Bucks and Montgomery counties should start this spring.

County Finds High Levels of PFAS in Groundwater Under Madison Airport
Tests of groundwater at two former firefighter training areas at the Madison airport have revealed hazardous chemicals known as PFAS at levels thousands of times higher than recommended health standards.

Wisconsin DNR Delivers Plan for Fighting PFAS Contamination
A plan delivered to Gov. Tony Evers outlines dozens of actions to address hazardous “forever chemicals,” including testing of all municipal water systems, phasing out fluorinated firefighting foam and creating a strategy for communicating the risks.

National Guard Sued Over Environmental Review of F-35 Projects at Truax Field
A group opposed to basing F-35 fighter jets in Madison is suing the National Guard over its environmental review of construction to prepare Truax Field to host the new planes.

Wisconsin PFAS Sampling Requested
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has asked Tyco Fire Products, a subsidiary of Johnson Controls, Inc., to expand its sampling of fish for PFAS. This decision was prompted by initial sampling in privately-owned ponds near Tyco’s fire training facility, which revealed fish with PFAS concentrations high enough to trigger restrictions on consumption.