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EPA Releases PFAS Health Advisories and Announces $1 Billion in Grant Funding

Date: June 15, 2022

Latest Action in PFAS Strategic Roadmap  

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) released lifetime health advisory (HA) drinking water levels for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as well as funding to address contamination. Establishing updated and new HA levels is the latest action taken as part of the PFAS Strategic Roadmap in the lead up to the release of a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS in the fall of 2022. These HAs provide technical information to inform water quality monitoring, optimization of existing technologies that reduce PFAS, and strategies to reduce exposure to these substances for federal, state and local agencies.  

For perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), EPA provided updated interim HA levels that were lowered from 2016 levels at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) to 0.004 ppt PFOA and 0.02 ppt PFOS based on the latest science indicating negative health impacts may occur at levels close to zero. The U.S. EPA also established new final HA levels for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS) and for hexafluoropropylene oxide (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt (“GenX” chemicals) at 2,000 ppt and 10 ppt respectively. GenX and PFBS chemicals are currently used in product manufacturing as replacements for PFOA and PFOS, and the scientific basis for the levels comes from U.S. EPA’s 2021 final toxicity assessments.  

Concurrently, EPA announced $1 billion in funding for the Emerging Contaminants (EC) in Small or Disadvantaged Communities Grant (SDC) program in Fiscal Year 22 to address PFAS contamination in small and disadvantaged communities as part of the larger $5 billion in funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The grant funding can be used to address emerging contaminants like PFAS through technical assistance, water quality testing, contractor training, and installation of centralized treatment technologies and systems. Letters of intent are due August 15, 2022.  

Join EPA’s webinar to learn more on June 23, 2022 at 12:00 pm EST. Register here. 

 What are Lifetime Health Advisories? 

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA may publish non-regulatory health advisories for contaminants that are not regulated through any national primary drinking water regulation. Health advisories reflect an assessment of the best available peer-reviewed science and indicate the level of drinking water contamination below which adverse health effects are not expected to occur. Lifetime health advisories assess the levels needed to protect human health from adverse health effects based on a lifetime of exposure and include considerations for exposure to contaminants like PFAS through means beyond drinking water such as exposure to food, air, and consumer products.  

Next Steps in PFAS Strategic Roadmap 

In the coming months, EPA will be responding to comments from the PFAS Science Advisory Board (SAB) as EPA develops Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) to support the Safe Drinking Water Act National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFOA and PFOS (expected fall 2022). The WateReuse Association will continue to work with EPA and alert membership to relevant developments.   

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