Regulatory approaches vary from state to state.
History and Pending Federal Oversight
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continue to gain regulatory attention across the country since being added to the US EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule list in 2012.
On February 14, 2019, U.S. EPA released the PFAS Action Plan, which addressed potential inclusion of PFAS chemicals under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Release Inventory, Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. However, aside from a Health Advisory Limit for two of the PFAS chemicals (PFOA and PFOS), federal regulatory changes have not been promulgated.
In the Absence of Federal Guidelines
With the lack of federal guidance, states have developed their own regulatory approaches, including sampling protocols. Similarly, laboratory methods, quality, and even analytes provided vary tremendously from lab to lab. That’s why it’s important to actively monitor regulatory guidance and evolving analyte techniques, including considerations from various state programs, to stay on top of applicable state-mandated sampling procedures. As sampling protocols and analytical techniques for PFAS continue to evolve, EnSafe PFAS specialists are monitoring the situation closely.
Why the Regulatory Variability?
Recently, Dr. Heather Govenor of EnSafe attended the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Focused Topic Meeting on PFAS in Durham, North Carolina. The meeting highlighted the primary hurdle for PFAS as an emerging contaminant – the lack of reliable toxicology and toxicity data for human health and the environment.
Although some ecological benchmarks are available for invertebrates and fish, there are still many data gaps and very limited data on field-based effects on wildlife. Similarly, there is no consensus on impacts to human health. Differences in the various federal and state drinking water guidelines represent differences in choice of critical effect and interpretation of data. Substantial additional research is needed to harmonize criteria, expand the number of specific PFAS chemicals for which criteria are available, and address uncertainties. The availability of reliable toxicity data will directly influence state and federal regulatory limits.
State Highlight: Connecticut PFAS Task Force
On July 8, 2019, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont established the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force to protect Connecticut's residents and the environment from the harmful effects of PFAS. This Task Force, which is led by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) with representatives from a broad variety of state agencies, is tasked with delivering a PFAS Action Plan to Governor Lamont by October 1, 2019. This Action Plan will contain a comprehensive strategy to:
- Minimize human health risk for Connecticut residents,
- Minimize future releases of PFAS to the environment, and
- Identify, assess, and clean up historic releases of PFAS to the environment.
To address these three focus areas, the Task Force established Committees on Human Health, Pollution Prevention, and Remediation. EnSafers Rob McCarthy and Pat Kozak are serving on the Remediation committee, Alex Stark is serving on the Pollution Prevention committee, and Tina Clemmey is serving on the Human Health committee.
EnSafe’s PFAS Resources at the Ready
EnSafe’s team of technical specialists are well-versed on the current state-of-the-science to ensure that our clients have direct access to the most current science available.
If PFAS is a potential concern for you, please consult our factsheet or contact Dr. Tiffany Thomas, our resident PFAS Subject Matter Expert. Dr. Thomas, along with EnSafe’s PFAS Technical Team of experienced project managers and samplers, are available to ensure that your samples are collected and analyzed properly, allowing you to have confidence in your results and your project’s future.