PFAS, PFOA and the USEPA: What it All Might Mean for Manufacturers

Rob Young; Mike Carney
(AlterEcho, Chantilly, VA)

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Like toxic PCBs before them, development and implementation of PFAS and related PFOA and their management is widespread, rapid and undermined by data gaps. PFAS/PFOA issues are a growing environmental concern across the US. While previously focused on items such as non-stick cookware,PFAS/PFOA compounds are ubiquitous and pervasive in industry and consumer products,and are a growing concern in drinking water supplies. Virtually every American has been exposed, with PFAS considered highly toxic (e.g., cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental effects) at very low parts-per-trillion levels. As we refine our understanding of associated uses, releases and how people are exposed, so has the scientific community redoubled efforts to characterize PFAS/PFOA–from the perspectives of analytical methodologies, health risk, and remedial strategy. As science and the law converge, information brought to light drives administrative authority decision criteria, compliance standards, and control technology options. The USEPA, for example, is evaluating the need for a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFOA and PFOA by designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances,” while also currently developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites. This presentation will address knowns and unknowns regarding PFAS characterization, options for efficient control technologies for chip manufacturers, and risk management strategies to minimize future liability.

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