Cardno ChemRisk Scientists Publish Paper Evaluating PFOA Drinking Water Regulations

Posted on Behalf of  Lindsey Garnick

We are pleased to announce our recent publication in Science of The Total Environment, titled An evaluation of health-based federal and state PFOA drinking water guidelines in the United StatesThe study is available here.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; also known as C8) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) belong to a class of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These synthetic chemicals have unique physicochemical properties which impart surfactant and stain-, oil-, and water-resistant properties to a variety of products, including aqueous film-forming foams, food packaging materials, textiles, and carpeting. Evidence of ubiquitous environmental and human exposure has prompted regulatory bodies to evaluate the potential health effects of PFAS such as PFOA for the purposes of developing health-based standards. In 2016, the US EPA established a non-enforceable drinking water Health Advisory (HA) for PFOA of 0.07 ppb (or 0.07 μg/L) for the US. In addition to regulatory efforts at the federal level, a number of states have established or are in the process of establishing their own drinking water guidelines or limits for PFOA and PFOS, with drinking water guidelines/standards ranging from 0.005 to 2 μg/L.

The purpose of the recently published Cardno ChemRisk study was to evaluate the basis and derivation of the available state and federal drinking water guidelines for PFOA, with an emphasis on determining the most appropriate exposure parameters to derive a health-based standard for PFOA.  Specifically, we evaluated whether the US EPA’s assumptions utilized to set the current US drinking water advisory level appropriately capture the magnitude of background exposure to the US population.  In addition, our scientists also evaluated the contribution of PFOA in drinking water to the systemic PFOA body burden of the general population using an available biokinetic model.  As detailed in the publication, determining the relative significance of the various exposure pathways to the general population will be necessary to understand the drivers of temporal differences in serum PFOA measured in various studies as well as for anticipating risks associated with future exposures. For questions, please contact Andrew Monnot.

Cardno ChemRisk scientists have extensive professional experience evaluating the possible hazards posed by chemicals, including PFAS. An overview of our PFAS focus area can be found on our website here.