EPA Health Advisories for PFAS

June 14, 2022, today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of “interim updated Health Advisories” (HAs) for PFOA and PFOS. EPA also announced that they are issuing final HAs for PFBS and GenX chemicals.

The interim HAs for PFOA and PFOS are
PFOA – 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt)
PFOS – 0.02 ppt

The final HAs for PFBS and GenX are:
PFBS – 2000 ppt
GenX – 10 ppt

Text Below is Copied from the Enclosed Federal Register Announcement:
“EPA is releasing interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS based on data and draft analyses that indicate that the levels at which negative health effects could occur are much lower than previously understood when the agency issued its 2016 health advisories for PFOA and PFOS (70 parts per trillion or ppt). Human studies have found associations between PFOA and/or PFOS exposure and effects on the immune system, the cardiovascular system, development (e.g., decreased birth weight), and cancer. These data and draft analyses, which were released publicly in November 2021, are currently undergoing EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) review. EPA is concerned about the public health implications of these preliminary findings and is therefore issuing interim updated health advisories for PFOA and PFOS.”

Link to a website presenting EPA’s Question and Answers Regarding PFAS

Link below is to EPA’s web page on HAs. Scroll down to the middle of the page to find links for the four new PFAS HAs (links will take you to the supporting documents).

Text Below is Copied from EPA’s Press Release:
“These advisories indicate the level of drinking water contamination below which adverse health effects are not expected to occur. Health advisories provide technical information that federal, state, and local officials can use to inform the development of monitoring plans, investments in treatment solutions, and future policies to protect the public from PFAS exposure.
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. EPA’s lifetime health advisories also take into account other potential sources of exposure to these PFAS beyond drinking water (for example, food, air, consumer products, etc.), which provides an additional layer of protection.
EPA is issuing interim, updated drinking water health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) that replace those EPA issued in 2016. The updated advisory levels, which are based on new science and consider lifetime exposure, indicate that some negative health effects may occur with concentrations of PFOA or PFOS in water that are near zero and below EPA’s ability to detect at this time. The lower the level of PFOA and PFOS, the lower the risk to public health. EPA recommends states, Tribes, territories, and drinking water utilities that detect PFOA and PFOS take steps to reduce exposure. Most uses of PFOA and PFOS were voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers, although there are a limited number of ongoing uses, and these chemicals remain in the environment due to their lack of degradation.
For the first time, EPA is issuing final health advisories for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (“GenX” chemicals). In chemical and product manufacturing, GenX chemicals are considered a replacement for PFOA, and PFBS is considered a replacement for PFOS. The GenX chemicals and PFBS health advisory levels are well above the level of detection, based on risk analyses in recent scientific studies.”