News Feature | June 1, 2018

NJ Scientists Recommend PFC Action

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

New Jersey water experts want the state to crack down on PFOS in drinking water.

“The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Drinking Water Quality Institute on Friday unanimously approved its recommendation for a significantly lower limit on the unregulated chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, in the state’s drinking water,” The Burlington County Times reported.

“The Drinking Water Quality Institute, which advises the Department of Environmental Protection, formally said that New Jersey’s drinking water should have no more than 13 parts per trillion (ppt) of the chemical PFOS, a part of the perflurochemical family (PFCs), also known as PFAS, in order to protect public health,” NJ Spotlight reported.

The scientific panel has previously evaluated PFNA and PFOA. The PFNA limit was already accepted by state regulators, but the PFOA limit has not been adopted, NJ Spotlight reported.

“The chemicals have been found in New Jersey more often and in higher concentrations than in many other states. EPA tests from 2013-2015 found PFOS in 3.4 percent of New Jersey public water systems, almost twice the national rate of 1.9 percent. In other tests from 2006-2016, PFOS was found in more than half of 76 public systems,” NJ Spotlight reported.

The recommendation comes as the U.S. EPA is under scrutiny for whether it is doing enough to confront PFAS pollution.

“Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt has pledged action to address PFAS groundwater contamination,” Alaska Public Radio reported.

The new steps the agency plans to take are as follows, per an EPA press release:

  • EPA will initiate steps to evaluate the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOS. We will convene our federal partners and examine everything we know about PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
  • EPA is beginning the necessary steps to propose designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” through one of the available statutory mechanisms, including potentially CERCLA Section 102.
  • EPA is currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites and will complete this task by fall of this year.
  • EPA is taking action in close collaboration with our federal and state partners to develop toxicity values for GenX and PFBS.