USEPA Announces New Health Advisory for PFAS Compounds in Drinking Water

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On June 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced four drinking water health advisories for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in drinking water. The USEPA’s announcement on the new health advisories can be found here. The new health advisories for the recommended concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in drinking water are 0.02 parts per trillion (ppt) and 0.004 ppt, respectively. These advisories replace the drinking water health advisories for PFOS and PFOA that were issued by USEPA in 2016, which set the recommended concentrations for both compounds at 70 ppt.

In addition, USEPA for the first time has issued drinking water health advisories for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (sometimes referred to as “GenX” compounds). USEPA set the advisory limit at 2,000 ppt for PFBS and 10 ppt for GenX compounds.

These new health advisories were issued in advance of USEPA’s forthcoming proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS, which is expected to be released in the fall of 2022. USEPA explained that while it is developing the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation, it is evaluating additional PFAS compounds beyond PFOA and PFOS and is considering actions to address groups of PFAS.

In addition to the four new health advisories, USEPA invited states and territories to apply for $1 billion in grants intended to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants in drinking water, specifically in small or disadvantaged communities. Part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this is the first installment of what will be a total of $5 billion intended to address emerging contaminants in drinking water.

PFAS are a class of synthetic, man-made chemicals that have been used since the 1940s to make products that are resistant to water, heat, and oil. These products include cookware, carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials that are resistant to water, grease, or stains. They are also used in firefighting foams and in a number of industrial processes.

For questions about the new health advisories or forthcoming USEPA action related to PFAS, please contact David Edelstein at dedelstein@archerlaw.com or 856-354-3125, or Charles Dennen at cdennen@archerlaw.com or 856-673-3932.

DISCLAIMER: This client advisory is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute legal or tax advice, and may not be used and relied upon as a substitute for legal or tax advice regarding a specific issue or problem. Advice should be obtained from a qualified attorney or tax practitioner licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where that advice is sought.