The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, released its toxicology report on four different PFAS chemicals today. The report suggests human health risks can occur at levels significantly lower than current federal government recommendations.
The toxicology report suggests “minimum risk levels” should be between seven to 10 times lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The chemical receiving the lowest minimum risk level is suggested at 12ppt, highlighting the gulf between where ATSDR deems safe and EPA’s current advisory level of 70ppt.
The report calls in to question what an acceptable “safe” level is for the presence of these chemicals in drinking water. Possible health effects resulting from exposure include: liver damage, pre-eclampsia, elevated cholesterol, and thyroid disease.
The 852-page draft is accessible here and is available for public comment. The National Ground Water Association will work with its volunteers to submit comments on the draft.
NGWA will continue its outreach with federal and state government officials, helping to ensure the resources necessary to identify and remediate groundwater contamination are provided.
Members of NGWA are uniquely qualified to play a role in addressing these challenges. Many are working daily on PFAS-related issues, and NGWA’s Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, published last year, is one of the most comprehensive tools available on the topic. The text was crafted by NGWA with the assistance of 36 volunteers.
The EPA is holding a public meeting on PFAS on June 25 in Exeter, New Hampshire, and NGWA is suggesting its members consider attending and signing up for a speaking slot. This meeting, which came out of the EPA’s National Leadership Summit in May, is an opportunity for NGWA members to share this expertise with EPA officials.
NGWA is also hosting an event August 14-15 in St. Paul, Minnesota, titled PFAS in Groundwater Workshop: The Professional’s Challenge. The workshop will address and sharpen the thought processes of practitioners regarding how to apply scientific and legal considerations to sites contaminated with PFAS.
For more information on PFAS or to volunteer to work on public comments in response to the study’s release, please contact NGWA’s government affairs director Lauren Schapker at 202.888.9151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.