Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Health Advisory Levels and Lab Results Additional Information
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
PFAS are synthetic chemicals that have been manufactured and used by a broad range of industries since the 1940s. PFAS are used in many applications because of their unique physical properties such as resistance to high and low temperatures, resistance to degradation, and nonstick characteristics. They are commonly used in products like food packaging, dental floss, water proof fabrics and cookware. PFAS have been detected worldwide in the air, soil, and water.
Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. There is evidence that continued exposure above specific levels to certain PFAS may cause adverse health effects. In response, the EPA has created health advisory levels for the following PFAS compounds: Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluorobutane Sulfonic Acid (PFBS) and GenX.
Health Advisory Levels and Lab Results
What is a Health Advisory Level?
A health advisory level is one of the first steps in developing new drinking water standards and are not enforceable regulations. Instead, health advisory levels represent guidance provided by the EPA until formal regulations are established. A health advisory level is the minimum concentration of a compound which may present health risks to an individual over a lifetime of exposure.
What do the Health Advisory Levels for GenX, PFOA and PFOS Mean?
The EPA first issued interim health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS in 2016 at 70 parts per trillion and GenX for 140 parts per trillion and . On June 15, 2022, the EPA set new Interim Health Advisory Levels for PFOA at 0.004 parts per trillion and 0.02 parts per trillion for PFOS. The EPA also issued final health advisory levels of 10 parts per trillion for GenX and 2000 parts per trillion for PFBS. EPA’s lifetime health advisories identify levels to protect all people, including sensitive populations and life stages, from adverse health effects resulting from a lifetime of exposure to these PFAS in drinking water. They also take into account other potential sources of exposure to these PFAS from food, air and consumer products. In this calculation water is assumed to account for 20% of all exposure sources. The new health advisories for PFOS and PFOA are also below current reliable detection abilities of most scientific equipment (current testing methods can only detect PFAS compounds at 2 parts per trillion.)
What is Raleigh Water Doing About This Issue?
Raleigh Water is in full compliance with EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and all North Carolina drinking water regulations and will continue to work with our industry partners and regulatory agencies to ensure our drinking water meets all current and future regulations. We have been monitoring the presence of PFAS since 2013, and have updated our data based on the most recent EPA approved test methods:
* Results are in units of nanograms per liter (ng/l), which is equivalent to parts per trillion (ppt)
We are not unique in this regard and we share the same challenge as many other drinking water utilities throughout the United States. We are currently pilot testing various advanced treatment technologies to evaluate how effective they are at removing PFAS compounds. As we learn more about potential future PFAS water quality standards, we will be ready to take action to modify our treatment systems as needed to meet any new regulations. We will also look to better understand possible upstream sources of PFAS in our water supply watersheds through continued sampling and will work to limit these sources whenever possible.
The following links can provide more information about PFCs and ongoing research:
If you have questions or concerns regarding this issue, please contact Edward Buchan at 919-996-3471 or firstname.lastname@example.org