PFAS Goes to Congress

Posted on August 30th, 2019

PFAS is a class of many chemicals that include perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) that are commonly used in industrial manufacturing. PFAS chemicals are extremely stable and chemically resistant molecules that persist in the environment for decades.

Since the 1940’s, these chemicals have been used in clothing, furniture and cookware, among other applications, which has led to the accumulation in soil and groundwater in various parts of the United States. It is also used in other countries. Accumulation of these chemicals in living tissue has been linked with several cancers and birth defects in young children and fetuses according to recent studies.

With regard to the Safe Drinking Water Act, USEPA states the following on its website: “There are currently no maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) established by the USEPA for PFAS chemicals. EPA initiated the steps to evaluate the need for an MCL for PFOA and PFOS under the regulatory determination process. EPA has issued a health advisory for PFOA and PFOS. Health advisories describe non-regulatory concentrations of drinking water contaminants at or below which adverse health effects are not anticipated to occur over specific exposure durations. They serve as informal technical guidance to assist federal, state and local officials, and water system managers by providing information on the health effects of and methods to sample and treat PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.”

On July 24, 2019 the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe testified before a congressional subcommittee. She discussed the importance of establishing federal standards for the protection of the environment and people.

New Jersey recently established state standards on the concentration of PFAS in groundwater.


Ariana Miranda

Environmental Scientist


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