The EPA’s Latest Regulations Around PFAS Compounds

Forever chemicals have been on the radar of the US government for a few years now, and we’re starting to see the first steps towards regulatory oversight that will protect drinking water quality

On April 19th, the EPA announced the finalization of its rules designating two PFAS compounds – Per Flouro perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (“PFOS”), including their salts and structural isomers—as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA” or “Superfund”). This news comes in the wake of the EPA’s recent action in January, which added seven PFAS compounds to its list of materials classified under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).

PFAS, Public Health, and NPDWR

At KETOS, we believe that these are very welcome steps from a public health perspective.

Our analysis of the Unregulated Contaminants Monitoring Rule (UCMR5) survey shows that roughly one in nine monitored Public Water Supply (PWS) systems throughout the US had PFOA above the EPA’s health advisory level.

For PFOS, that number went up to about one in eight PWSs.

Additionally, our analysis suggests that several PFAS compounds co-occur in the same water samples. In March 2023, the EPA presented peer-reviewed science that indicates that mixtures of PFAS can pose a health risk greater than each chemical on its own, as conveyed in the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR).

Given that PFAS compounds have been linked to cancers, impacts the liver and heart, and immune and developmental damage to infants and children, our view is that any number greater than zero is unacceptably high.

EPA Regulations and Compliance: What That Means for Business 

While we are energized by these recent rulings, we are also acutely aware that changing the status of PFAS compounds from Unregulated to Regulated brings with it several compliance challenges for businesses.

KETOS has been proactively reaching out to and having conversations with businesses that may be impacted by new compliance requirements to help them exceed their compliance needs in a cost-effective manner.

KETOS was founded on the belief that ensuring clean, safe water for all consumers and businesses exceeding compliance requirements while saving money are not mutually conflicting goals.

It’s high time that these two can go hand in hand, and we’re here to make it happen. If you have questions about KETOS, water quality monitoring, or forever chemicals, let’s talk.

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