Ronnie Gosselin was the moderator during the teleconference “Emergence of PFAS: A Public Health Concern?”
PFAS — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — are compounds that have been relied upon by various industries — including apparels and metal plating — for decades. The widespread use of PFAS in consumer products has resulted in their presence in landfills and wastewater treatment plant discharges. Factories that manufactured or used PFAS may have impacted groundwater up to distances of several miles. Moreover, the widespread use of aqueous film forming foams for firefighting has impacted localized areas. More than 6 million people in the U.S. are currently drinking water containing PFAS above the EPA’s Health Advisory Level (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion, and most people have PFAS in their blood at a median level of 2.0 parts per billion. How concerned should we be about PFAS? Arguably, EPA’s HAL is highly protective, but how safe is safe? The teleconference also explored the impact the current regulatory framework will have on response actions in several states. Does the cost outweigh the benefit? Panelists discussed PFAS, including the toxicological science that led to the development of EPA’s HAL for PFAS in drinking water and a review of cases concerning the causal link between PFAS and health effects.