PFAS Update XXVII: News from North America and Around the World

PFAS Update XXVII: From Washington, D.C. to Hong Kong, The Information Source for Environmental Professionals

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.

As a new administration begins its term in Washington, interest in their response to issues of PFAS and emerging contaminants is significant. At the same time, the SGS PFAS Update XXVII continues to have stories of new research, lawsuits, new regulations, and locations and products where toxic chemicals have been identified across North America and as far away as China.

SGS AXYS contributes helpful news to this update with the announcement of a new method to measure PFAS in ambient air at very low concentrations!

SGS is 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.


U.S. and the World

SGS AXYS Employs New Method to Measure PFAS in Ambient Air at Very Low Concentrations
While PFAS in drinking water and other ecosystem components have raised alarms throughout the world for some time, PFAS in ambient air is receiving increasing attention for numerous reasons.

Is Your Beloved Outdoors Gear Bad for the Planet? A new study shows that some in-demand technical gear sheds “forever chemicals” into the environment. What’s a fashion hiker to do?

Biden Administration Looks Set to Target ‘Forever Chemicals,’ As 3M Warns About ‘Onerous Regulation’
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s administration looks poised to crack down on a group of “forever chemicals” that have been linked to a range of health problems, a move that could put companies like 3M and DuPont on the hook for billions of dollars in cleanup costs.

State-by-State Regulation of PFAS in Drinking Water
Many states have expressed frustration with the lack of an enforceable federal PFAS drinking water standard, and have started the process of regulating PFAS in drinking water themselves.  This client alert focuses on the maximum contaminant levels (“MCLs”), as well as guidance and notification levels for PFAS – typically perfluorooctane sufonic acid (“PFOS”) and perflurooctanic acid (”PFOA”)  – in drinking water that have been enacted or proposed by various states.

Firefighters Battle an Unseen Hazard: Their Gear Could Be Toxic
Every day at work for 15 years, Sean Mitchell, a captain in the Nantucket Fire Department, has put on the bulky suit that protects him from the heat and flames he faces on the job. But last year, he and his team came across unsettling research: Toxic chemicals on the very equipment meant to protect their lives could instead be making them gravely ill.

New Clues Help Explain Why PFAS Resist Remediation
New research from the University of Houston and Oregon State University published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters suggests why these “forever chemicals” – so called because they can persist in the environment for decades – are so difficult to permanently remove and offers new avenues for better remediation practices.

McDonald’s Vows to Stop Using Potentially Harmful Chemicals in Packaging. What to Know
In a victory for health and environmental safety advocates, the world’s largest fast-food chain has promised to stop using potentially harmful chemicals in its packaging.

Scientists will Refine Which Chemicals are PFAS
This year, an international panel of scientists plans to release a more precise definition of a class of chemicals often found in news headlines—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Nearly 100 Million Chinese People Supplied Drinking Water With ‘Unsafe’ Levels of PFAS
HONG KONG, Jan 18 (SCMP): Drinking water provided to nearly 100 million people in China has levels of PFAS that exceed safe limits, researchers have found.

Contamination Cleanups Coming Soon for Tucson and Marana Groundwater
Contamination fouling drinking water in parts of Marana and near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is due for separate cleanups soon.

Fullerton Joins PFAS Lawsuit Against 3M, DuPont, Others
The city of Fullerton has joined a large Orange County lawsuit against the 3M Company, DuPont, and others. The suit was brought by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and several Orange County cities and water districts alleging that these companies are responsible for water contamination from PFAS in the region’s groundwater and water systems.

DuPont, Chemours, Corteva reach $4B PFAS Settlement
The trio of companies that emerged from the legacy of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company – DuPont, Chemours and Corteva – have reached a settlement worth as much as $4 billion that ends years of legal wrangling over who’s responsible for liabilities from the historic use of so-called “forever chemicals.”

Lake Superior Contaminants Face Year of Scrutiny

In February, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will release a blueprint on how it plans to begin to deal with “forever chemicals.

New Jersey
NJ Sues Federal Government, Saying ‘Forever Chemicals’ at Military Bases Polluted Drinking Water
New Jersey sued the federal government, charging it with contaminating public drinking water supplies with toxic PFAS chemicals on and around three New Jersey military bases by continuing to use a type of firefighting foam that contains the chemicals.

New Mexico
Environment Department Tackles PFAS Contamination While Sampling New Mexico Drinking Water Sources
As part of New Mexico’s efforts to protect communities from PFAS, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) is beginning work to address the contamination caused by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) at Cannon and Holloman Air Force bases.

New York
New York State Proposes to Regulate Emerging Contaminant PFOA in Air Emissions
While much of the regulatory action involving PFAS in the US has focused on establishing drinking water standards, New York has now positioned itself to begin regulating air emissions of PFOA. On January 13, 2021, NYSDEC proposed an allowable concentration in ambient air – called an annual guideline concentration (AGC) – for PFOA. If approved, New York would join Michigan as one of the few states with established air quality restrictions on PFAS.

Fearing PFAS contamination, state places “quarantine” on popular pesticide
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is blocking the use of a popular pesticide for mosquito control upstate and in New York City following the revelation that the chemicals’ containers were made with PFAS.

Decades of Grumman, Navy Inaction Before Calverton Wells Contaminated, Documents Show
Groundwater contamination spreading from 6,000 acres in Calverton where Grumman once fueled and tested U.S. Navy jets is threatening the Peconic River and private drinking wells — after decades of inaction by the aerospace giant and its military partner, according to advocates and documents examined by Newsday.

North Carolina
DEQ Cites Chemours for PFAS Treatment System Failures
By the end of September, a treatment system the Chemours chemical company had just installed was supposed to stop 99 percent of residual contamination of “forever chemicals” from escaping an old outfall and flowing into the Cape Fear River. Only the system did not work properly and toxic PFAS continued to flow into the river at levels exceeding the threshold.

South Carolina
Drinking Water Threatened by Harmful Chemicals – and SC Needs Help, Senators Told
An emerging class of toxins increasingly threatens drinking water across South Carolina, but state officials have so far failed to set standards that could protect millions of people.

Chemicals Polluted North Fort Worth for Decades. Here’s What’s Being Done About It
Nearly 15 years after officials first evaluated soil and groundwater contamination in Fort Worth’s industrial north side, the cleanup effort for the Panther Island/Central City flood control project is entering its final stages, according to the Tarrant Regional Water District.

State’s New Solid Waste Rules Don’t Solve the Sludge Problem
Vermont has new rules that require monitoring for toxic chemicals everywhere human septage is applied to the land.

State Issues Consumption Warning for Lake Superior Smelt Over PFAS Contamination
State officials are recommending people limit consumption of smelt from Lake Superior because of PFAS contamination.

PFAS Found in Two City of La Crosse Municipal Wells
PFAS has been detected in two City of La Crosse municipal wells and groundwater samples near the La Crosse Regional Airport.

Stevens Point Fire Department Combats PFAS with Eco-friendly Foam
The State of Wisconsin recently released recommendations for the elimination of PFAS.

Tyco Reaches $17.5M Settlement with Town of Peshtigo Residents Over PFAS
Tyco will pay up to $17.5 million to Town of Peshtigo residents as part of a settlement over the company’s use of chemicals known as PFAS.