On June 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released drinking water health advisories for PFOA, PFOS, GenX chemicals, and PFBS. These chemicals are four separate subsets of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA’s advisories identify the PFAS chemical concentration in drinking water that EPA does not anticipate creating adverse health effects. EPA released its first ever drinking water health advisories for GenX chemicals and PFBS. However, EPA’s drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS replaced the health advisories it announced in 2016, which recommended a combined PFOA and PFOS chemical concentration below 70 parts per trillion (ppt). EPA’s updated health advisories dramatically decrease its recommended PFOA and PFOS chemical concentration to near zero levels. The newly released drinking water health advisories are as follows:
- PFOA = 0.004 ppt
- PFOS = 0.02 ppt
- GenX chemicals = 10 ppt
- PFBS = 2,000 ppt
EPA acknowledges its recommended drinking water PFOA and PFOS chemical concentrations are below levels that EPA can reliably detect at this time. While it may be difficult to determine whether drinking water is compliant with EPA’s advisory PFAS levels, EPA states “[t]he lower the level of PFOA and PFOS, the lower the risk to public health.”
EPA’s drinking water health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory documents meant to provide guidance for drinking water systems operators and other related parties. However, EPA is moving forward with proposing a PFAS National Drinking Water Regulation in fall 2022. Further, EPA is making $1 billion in grant funds available to help reduce PFAS chemical concentration in drinking water throughout the country. EPA’s grants are the first of $5 billion allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill toward reducing PFAS in drinking water.
Michael Best will continue to track rulemaking, funding, and other PFAS regulatory efforts at EPA and beyond. The environmental team at Michael Best has experience advising clients on PFAS-related issues. If you have any questions or concerns about how EPA’s drinking water health advisories may impact your facility, please contact your Michael Best attorney or any of the authors listed here.