PFC Background information

T imeline of PFC:  PFCs Summary Timeline – Commercial Prod + Disposal

 (Compiled by a resident to support the Rye Civic News).
There are thousands of compounds in the PFAS chemical class; PFOA has been researched and reported on the most. DuPont began documenting PFOA health effects in 1954. By the 1980s, DuPont was quietly monitoring water supplies around its Washington Works plant in West Virginia. More details below.
Keep in mind, PFAS contamination at former and active military sites from the use of aqueous film-forming foams, so-called AFFFs, is not included in this summary. AFFFs have been used by the military since the 1970s for their effectiveness in fighting petroleum-based fires. The former Pease Air Force Base (now the Pease Tradeport) was one of the early sites where PFAS contamination of drinking water was discovered. In 2014, the Air Force tested the drinking water at Pease and shut down the Haven well after detecting high levels of PFAS contamination. The Air Force installed a filtration system for the Pease wells. The City of Portsmouth, however, “blends” its water supply, and it is unclear if all of the supplies into the Portsmouth water system are presently tested and filtered for PFASs. This is of particular concern for the adults and children who were exposed to contaminated drinking water at Pease, as any future exposure to PFASs will be additive to the chemical burden they already have.
PFASs do not degrade in the environment and bioaccumulate in the human body. The primary exposure pathway for PFASs into the human body is through drinking water. Exposure also occurs through air emissions from a production plant, contact with everyday products coated with PFAS chemicals such as non-stick cookware, grease-resistant food packaging, water-resistant clothing (e.g., Gore-Tex), coated dental floss, stain-resistant carpets and furniture (e.g., “Scotchgard”), eating fish from contaminated waters, migration from waste disposal sites including unlined landfills, waste treatment facilities, and sludge application sites.
PFASs are linked to a number of health effects, including certain types of cancer. See summary below for more detail.
Vermont, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York are all working on, or have worked on, setting their own PFAS guidelines for clean drinking water. Vermont has the lowest health advisory of 20 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, but as of November 1st 2017, New Jersey announced it will become the first state to set formal Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFNA. New Jersey will have the toughest drinking water standards in the country with PFOA of 14 ppt and PFNA of 13 ppt. PFOS has been proposed at 13 ppt. Water utilities will be required to test routinely and remediate contaminated water with corrective treatment systems. The EPA considers PFASs to be of “emerging concern” and has set a lifetime health advisory limit of 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS. The EPA has not set formal MCLs for PFAS contaminants and the state of New Hampshire follows the federal advisory limits.


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