EPA Announces Lifetime PFOA and PFOS Advisory Level

May 19, 2016

Saint-Gobain manufactures glass fabric, coated in PTFE, a dispersion that once contained C8 compounds.
Credit Emily Corwin / NHPR

The EPA has announced a lifetime health advisory level for two chemicals that have contaminated water in Southern New Hampshire and at the former Pease Air Force Base.

PFOA and PFOS are slippery, stable chemicals used since the 1940s in products like nonstick cookware. A major class action lawsuit against DuPont brought to light links between the chemicals and health affects including cancer back in 2005.   

But until now – the EPA didn’t have advice for states on how much of these chemicals is safe to drink in the long term. Now, the feds have set an advisory level: 70 parts per trillion.

Jim Martin is with the state’s environmental regulator. He says the state can now move forward with emergency rulemaking, which lasts 180 days, "during which time" he says, "we would be undertaking the more permanent rule making process that would entail full public comments." 

This process, Martin says, will allow the state to require contaminators to clean up drinking water and groundwater.