"PFASachusetts?”Posted Jun 13, 2018
Some interesting news from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) last week with respect to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). MassDEP has established drinking water guidelines for five PFAS chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA). Specifically, they have established a guideline of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) in groundwater, which applies to each individual compound, or the sum total of all five compounds when they appear together. The reasoning is that all five substances have very similar molecular structures, including short chains of 6 to 8 fluorinated carbons (plus or minus one when compared to PFOA and PFOS) and similar biological half-lives.
While it’s still only a guideline, could it possibly lead to regulatory changes in other New England states? The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service (NHDES) has established 70 ppt as the Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard for PFOA and PFOS (or 70 ppt for a total of the two). Might NHDES take into consideration the expansion of their list of regulated PFAS compounds to include one or more of the additional three substances? Or perhaps it affects how regulators in Maine and Vermont approach the issue in their states going forward?
Wilcox & Barton understands the importance of this issue to our clients and fellow residents in the communities where we live and work across New England. If you have questions or concerns that you’d like to discuss with one of our experts, we’re here to help!