water
April 1, 2019

Concerns Are Growing Around PFAS In Groundwater Page 2

 |  By: Mike Opperman

PUBLIC AWARENESS
As news of PFAS contamination spreads the public becomes more aware of the potential risks. That has led to the creation of several environmental activist groups, as well as a national PFAS contamination coalition. 

“These groups share resources and essentially have a national network, which leads to quick local action that is very well informed,” Ziemba says. “These groups are well funded and good at obtaining publicity. Some focus on a specific entity that was a manufacturer of a compound and others advocate for changes to the water supply.”

With increased consumer pressure comes regulation. In 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency created a non-binding drinking water health advisory level of 70 PPT. Now the EPA is considering creating a maximum contaminant level for drinking water. But don’t expect any regulation in that regard for some time. The process is lengthy, according to Ziemba, taking as long as 10 years. 

At the state level, regulations are happening by location. 

“All the states are on their own now which poses problems if you have similar problems that cross state lines,” Schroeder says. “PFAS could be regulated very differently on either side of a boundary.”

So far Michigan has been one of the more proactive states in terms of testing, and is pushing through legislation to regulate PFAS levels, he says. Wisconsin is moving toward legislation as well.

“The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has recommended an enforcement standard of 20 PPT for combined PFOA and PFOF, with a preventative action limit of 2 PPT,” Ziemba says. “Wisconsin would become one of the most restricted states.” The process is lengthy and just getting started, she says, and a final rule is not expected until Fall 2021.

As the public becomes more aware of the dangers and prevalence of PFAS, Ziemba says communication is important. 
“We have to focus on the fact that dairy products remain safe,” she says. “The focus should be on understanding the toxicology and the risk communications so that people can understand what the real concerns are, versus what I would call continual scare tactics.”

For more information:

PFAS Resource Center

Waste with PFAS Spread On Wisconsin Farmland

What You Need To Know About PFAS

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