UPCOMING BOARD WORKSHOP: PFAS in California: Past, Present, and Future

The State Water Resources Control Board will host an information sharing event and Datathon focusing on PFAS in California: Past, Present, and Future. Topics will include usage, chemistry, and toxicological background, the occurrence in drinking water, exposure pathways and investigation challenges, approaches to treatment and remediation, efforts being made in product stewardship, and a status of current and an outlook on future PFAS regulatory efforts in California.

PFAS in California Seminar: Past, Present & Future
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
Thursday, December 5, 2019 (8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.)
Joe Serna Jr.-CalEPA Headquarters Building
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street, Second Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

The seminar is intended to provide a platform to share new information and efforts regarding PFAS in California.  Additional information on the Seminar can be found at the Water Board’s PFAS website at: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/pfas/.

Space is limited! Register now for a guaranteed spot here: https://CAPFASsummit2019.eventbrite.com.

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals resistant to heat, water, and oil. Manufacturing of PFAS started in the 1940s and PFAS are still used today in industrial and consumer products such as carpets, rugs, water-proof clothing, upholstery, food paper wrappings, non-stick products, cleaning products, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating (e.g., cookware).

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of the PFAS group of chemicals. No longer manufactured in the United States, PFOA and PFOS are still manufactured globally and imported into the U.S.

Since these chemicals have been used in an array of consumer products, scientists have found PFOA and PFOS in the blood of nearly all people tested. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), blood levels of both PFOS and PFOA have steadily decreased in U.S. residents since 1999-2000. However, manufacturers are developing replacement technologies in the PFAS family, by substituting longer-chain substances with shorter-chain substances.

In May 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued a lifetime health advisory for PFOS and PFOA for drinking water, advising municipalities that they should notify their customers of the presence of levels over 70 parts per trillion in community water supplies. U. S. EPA recommended that the notification of customers include information on the increased risk to health, especially for susceptible populations.

In March-April 2019, Investigative orders for targeted airport and landfill source locations and adjacent public drinking water supply wells were issued by the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) and the Division of Drinking Water (DDW). In addition, DDW included public water supply wells identified as part of a United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) well study conducted between 2012-15.

In July 2019, DDW updated its guidelines for local water agencies to follow in detecting and reporting the presence of these chemicals in drinking water. The guidelines lower the notification levels from 14 parts per trillion (ppt) to 5.1 ppt for PFOA and from 13 ppt to 6.5 ppt for PFOS. These levels are based on updated health recommendations from the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which is part of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to the updated notification levels, the State Water Board announced it has requested that OEHHA develop public health goals (PHGs) for both PFOA and PFOS, the next step in the process of establishing maximum contaminant levels in drinking water. Other chemicals in the broader group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) may be considered later, either individually or grouped, as data permits.


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