Articles, Environmental

PFAS New Regulations in Texas, USA

With the increased focus around the challenges with PFAS in the environment both in the news and in the environmental industry in general we have collected some of the most important news and regulations below:

For Texas, in USA, a minimum of 16 PFAS compounds needs to be tested to be in compliance with state regulations. These 16 PFAS compounds are:

  • Perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid (1-Octanesulfonic acid, heptadecafluoro-1-)
  • Perfluoroundecanoic acid (Undecanoic acid, uncosafluoro-)
  • Perfluoropentanoic acid (Pentanoic acid, nonafluoro-)
  • Perfluorohexanoic acid (Hexanoic acid, undecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorododecanoic acid (Dodecanoic acid, tricosafluoro-)
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (Octanoic acid, pentadecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorodecanoic acid (Decanoic acid, nonadecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorodecane sulfonic acid (1-Decanesulfonic acid, heneicosafluoro-)
  • Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (1-Hexanesulfonic acid, triddecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorobutyric acid (Butanoic acid, heptafluoro-)
  • Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (1-Butanesulfonic acid, nonafluoro-)
  • Perfluoroheptanoic acid (Heptanoic acid, tridecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorononanoic acid (Nonanoic acid, heptadecafluoro-)
  • Perfluorotetradecanoic acid (Tetradecanoic acid, heptacosafluoro-)
  • Perfluorotridecanoic acid (Tridecanoic acid, pentacosafluoro-)
  • Perfluorooctane sulfonamide (1-Octanesulfonamide, hetpadecafluoro-)

Currently, with the lack of a federal analytical methods under SW-846, supposed to be coming later this year, laboratories are using EPA 537.1 for drinking water and a modified 537.1 version of this method for other matrices.

The state of Texas has confirmed Protective Concentration Levels (PCL’s) and Risk-Based Exposure Limits (RBEL’s) for groundwater and soils with different levels for soil depending on land usage. The full table can be found here.

Federal guidelines

The EPA announced its first ever PFAS plan on the 14th February 2019. The agency has also released a short list of key actions that is also available via the link above. What has not yet been released or decided is the federal mandated MCL (Maximum Concentration Level).

As a part of the PFAS plan the EPA has stating the intention to establish such limits for PFOS and PFOA. Health advisories has been published for PFOA and PFOS in 2016, however these are nonregulatory and non-enforceable.

For analytical methods the EPA has announced that two new methods are planned to complement the existing EPA 537 that was intended for drinking water only. To date we have no information about when these new methods, EPA 8327 and EPA 8328, will be issued but they are in the validation stage.

About PFAS

Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), formerly referred to as Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), are a class of synthetic compounds widely used in industrial applications that are characterized by a fully fluorinated hydrophobic linear carbon chain attached to a hydrophilic functional group. PFAS’ are of interest due to their extreme persistence in the environment, ability to bioaccumulate, toxicity potential, and adverse human health effects.

The chemical structure of PFAS gives them unique properties, such as thermal stability and the ability to repel water and oil, making them useful in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products (fabric stain protectors, waterproofing of fabric, nonstick cookware, food packaging, lubricants, firefighting foams).

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are two of the best known and most studied PFAS. In their ionic form, they are water soluble and can readily migrate from soil to groundwater, where they can be transported long distances. PFOS is the predominant PFAS found in aquatic species around the world. Other PFAS of environmental concern include Perfluorooctane sulfonamides, sulfonamido ethanols, Fluorotelomer sulfonates, and other forms of Perfluoro carboxylates and Perfluoro sulfonates.

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