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Get Informed | PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs (Perfluorinated Chemicals) - "Forever Chemical"

What is PFOA, PFOS, PFAS and PFCs ?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a grouping of man-made fluorinated organic chemicals that have a wide range of use in industrial application and commercial goods. These are man-made chemicals or a derivative that are long-chain compounds that contain Carbon-Fluorine and Carbon-Carbon bonds that are very strong, do NOT occur naturally, and are difficult to breakdown, hence, the “forever” chemicals.

PFAs are resistant to oil, water, heat, and grease. Because of these characteristics, they found initial applications in the 1940s in applications related to water and stain resistant clothing, fabrics, carpeting, fire fighting foams, paints, and cleaning products and as firefighting foams on military bases and airfields. Do any of these brands sound familiar, "Scotchgard, Teflon Gore-Tex"? Because this product could prevent or inhibit grease migration and moisture penetration, the FDA approved the use of these chemicals for food packaging, cookware, and food processing and "Long-chain PFCs (long-chain perfluorinated compounds) for specific food-contact uses such as coatings on fast-food wrappers, to-go boxes, and pizza boxes" (Source).

You microwave popcorn and "Telfon" fans are not left out. "One of the problems with microwave popcorn lies in the microwave-safe bag that houses the kernels. According to a December 2013 report in Environmental Health Perspectives, microwave popcorn bags contain chemicals called perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA), which is the same chemical used in Teflon® nonstick coating, and perfluorooctane sulfonate (or PFOS) (Source)."

Chemical Structure

As an example of just how artificial these compounds are, let us consider the chemical structure of PFOA and PFOS. In order to visualize these molecules, we need three pieces: octane, a carboxyl group, and a sulfonyl hydroxide group. Start with a straight chain (no branches) octane which is eight carbons linked together in a kinked line with all other carbon bonds linked to hydrogens. The simple chemical formula is C8H18 but we can use another kind of formula that gives more information about the structure of the octane: CH₃CH₂CH₂CH₂CH₂CH₂CH₂CH₃ which can be reduced to CH₃(CH₂)₆CH₃. Note that all three versions have the same number of carbons and hydrogens.

Next, let’s construct the carboxyl and sulfonyl hydroxide groups. To make a carboxyl group (–COOH), start with a carbon with four open bonds. Attach an oxygen to the carbon with a double bond and then a hydroxide group (–OH) to the carbon, leaving one open bond. What you now have is a carboxyl group. To make a sulfonyl hydroxide group (–SO₂OH), start with a sulfur. Unlike carbon, the sulfur can have six bonds. Attach two oxygens to the sulfur, both with double bonds, leaving two open bonds. Attach a hydroxide group (–OH) to one of the remaining bonds, leaving one open bond. You now have a sulfonyl group.

Now take the octane and pull off one hydrogen from one of the end carbons, leaving one open bond. Replace all of the other hydrogens with fluoride (–F). You now have CF₃(CF₂)₆CF₂–, a fluoridated octanyl group. If you attach the carboxyl group to the fluoridated octane group, you have PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). If instead you attach the sulfonyl hydroxide group to the fluoridated octanyl group, you have PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid). If, instead of attaching a carboxyl group to a fluoridated octanyl group, you attach it to a fluoridated butyl group, CF3CF2CF2–, you have PFBA perfluorobutanoic acid). Compounds like these with all those fluorides are definitely not natural.

PFAS - Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (about 4700 different compounds). These compounds can be thought of as having a head and a tail.  The tail is based on a line of three or more carbons attached to one another with single bonds with all other carbon bonds taken by hydrogens to form what are known as alkanes.  If you remove one hydrogen from one of the carbons at the end of the line, creating an open bond, you now have what is known as an alkyl group.  Replace all of the remaining hydrogens with fluorides (–F) to create a fluoridated alkyl, the tail of a PFAS.  The head of a PFAS is usually either a carboxyl group (–COOH) or a sulfonyl hydroxide group (–SO2OH) although there are certainly other possibilities.  Connect a tail with a head and you have a PFAS.  

Initially, this grouping of chemicals was simply called perfluorinated compounds and because of their resistance to breakdown in the environment, resistance to heat, their durability, and their tendency to bioaccumulate in the food web and environment, they got a nickname, "The Forever Chemicals".  Certain members within this family of compounds have been identified as chemicals that will build up in the blood and organs of humans.

Other names that may apply to perfluorinated chemicals are: perfluorochemicals, perfluoroalkyls, perfluorinated alkyl acids, polyfluorinated chemicals, polyfluorinated compounds, and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

"In January 2016, the FDA amended a food additive regulation to no longer allow the use of three long-chained PFCs, and is now amending this regulation to include two more long-chain PFCs. The FDA’s action means that any food additive use of these substances is no longer allowed" and in many cases the PFOS and PFOA have been replaced by GenX compounds and PFBS, which were thought to be safer and less persistent in the environment.

GenX is a trade name for a process using fluoropolymers without the addition of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The hexafluoropropylene (HFPO) dimer acid and its ammonium salt are the primary chemicals used with the GenX process. GenX chemicals have been found in surface water, groundwater, finished drinking water, rainwater, and air emissions in some areas.

Did You Know? "This is not just a drinking water issue?!
"
Derivative - "In chemistry, a derivative is a compound that is derived from a similar compound by a chemical reaction. In the past, derivative also meant a compound that can be imagined to arise from another compound, if one atom or group of atoms is replaced with another atom or group of atoms, but modern chemical language now uses the term structural analog for this meaning, thus eliminating ambiguity" (Source)

PFOA - Perfluorooctanoic acid (C₈HF₁₅O₂), a specific member of the PFAS family

PFOS - Perfluorooctane sulfonate (C₈HF₁₇O₃S), a specific member of the PFAS family

PFCs -  Perfluorinated compounds- PFC is an acronym for a set of chemicals that stands for (1) perfluorinated chemicals, or (2) a group of chemicals known as perfluorocarbons, a subset of PFAS with only carbon and fluoride. Note that there are two different definitions for the same acronym. The first definition is very broad and includes all of the compounds mentioned in this section. The second definition is much narrower and includes just those compounds which are composed of only carbon and fluoride, nothing else. Because of the confusion created by these two different definitions, the EPA is now trying to avoid using the term, “PFCs”.

PFBA - Perfluorobutanoic acid (C₄HF₇O₂), a specific member of the PFAS family

Following are some sources of PFAS:

PFAS can be found in our food, consumer goods, workspace, drinking water, and the environment.

"Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.  (Our Addition: Through the use of biosolids, we may be fertilizing our agricultural areas with PFAS-laden biosolids.)

Commercial Household Products, including stains, and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).

Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.  

Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plants, and firefighter training facilities).

Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time. (Source)"

Bioaccumulation - "Bioaccumulation is the gradual build up over time of a chemical in a living organism. This occurs either because the chemical is taken up faster than it can be used, or because the chemical cannot be broken down for use by the organism (that is, the chemical cannot be metabolized)" (Source).

How Do PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs Become a problem?

This grouping of chemicals can not only bioaccumulate in the food chain, but bioaccumulate in individual humans too. Because these compounds do not readily break down they are persistent in the environment and, until recently, were common in many consumer products. The water cycle of the planet is a big water reuse and circulation system which relies on the natural breakdown of chemical compounds to renovate contaminants. This grouping of man-made chemicals is resistant to most of the natural renovation processes of the planet and therefore these compounds can build up in the soil, water, and biomass of the planet, including us.

"PFAS compounds are fluorocarbons that have a hydrophobic tail and a hydrophilic head. The head is generally a sulfonate or a carboxylic functional group that is anionic in nature. As such, PFAS compounds are attracted to and can be captured by various anion exchange resins. The sulfonate group is more strongly charged and therefore is generally more attracted to the anion exchange resins than is the carboxylic acid group. Although the hydrophobic end (the tail) is generally attracted to adsorbents such as granular carbon, some anion resins are slightly hydrophobic in nature and this property also attracts the hydrophobic end (the tail) of PFAS compounds. This hydrophobic property gives certain ion exchange resins a dual capture mechanism where they are able to attract both the hydrophilic (the head) and the hydrophobic (the tail) ends of a PFAS molecule. The longer-chain PFAS compounds tend to be more hydrophobic than the shorter-chain compounds, therefore the 7 and 8 carbon compounds sulfonated PFAS compounds tend to be better removed than others" (Guest Author - Mr. Peter Meyer, Resin Tech, Inc.) .

We are exposed to PFAS and related compounds as a result of the normal use, disposal, manufacturing, and degradation of consumer products that contain these compounds and the associated manufacturing process and waste discharges. Individuals can also be exposed to PFAS and related compounds because they can be found in products such as: carpets, leather and other clothing, specialty clothing, paper and packaging materials, cookware, paints and cleaning products, shampoo, floor wax, water repellents, and nonstick cookware. People who work at PFAS production facilities, or facilities that manufacture goods made with PFAS, may be exposed in certain occupational settings or through contaminated air.

Drinking water can be a source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have contaminated water supplies. Such contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility, for example,

  • An industrial facility where PFAS were produced or used to manufacture other products, or
  • An oil refinery, airfield, or other location at which PFAS were used for firefighting.

During the period from 2000 to 2002, there was a voluntary phase-out of the production of PFOS in the USA by the 3M Corporation and in 2006, the EPA requested a number of companies to eliminate their production and use of PFOA, or chemicals that degrade to PFOA, by 2015.

What are the Health Risks for PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs?

There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health impacts in humans. The most-studied PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS and these studies indicate that these compounds can cause immunological problems, reproductive and development problems, can promote the growth of tumors, can adversely impact the liver and kidneys. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental problems, as well as liver, kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. There is some evidence that these chemicals may increase the level of cholesterol and there is some suggestive evidence of low infant-birth-weights, effects on the immune system, a cancer risk for PFOA, and a risk of thyroid disorders for PFOS. Studies have also suggested that there are "high probability" links to kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disorders, high cholesterol, testicular cancer, and hypertension.

GenX Chemicals - Animal studies have shown health effects to the liver, kidneys, blood, immune system, and developing fetus and the available data suggest a risk of cancer.

PFBS - Animal studies have shown health effects on tissues, reproductive organs, kidneys, and the thyroid.  The thyroid and kidney appear to be very sensitive and the risk of cancer is unclear.  (Source)

On the upside, the GenX and PFBS compounds appear less persistent and less toxic. (Yay us?)

What are the Standards for PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs?

In 2009, the EPA published provisional health advisory guidelines (Not Standards) for PFOA and PFOS. The PFOS provisional health advisory limit was set for PFOS at 0.2 ug/L or 0.0002 mg/L and PFOA at 0.4 ug/L or 0.0004 mg/L  (Resource). In 2016, a health advisory limit was established (Resource). The drinking water health advisory for PFOA is (DWEL Level: 0.00037 mg/L or 0.37 ug/L Cancer Risk level of 0.5 ug/L, and a Lifetime Health Advisory of 0.07 ug/L). The EPA recommended that the Lifetime Health Advisory for PFOA should be 0.07 ug/L and PFOS should be 0.07 ug/L. This should apply to both short-term (i.e., weeks to months) scenarios during pregnancy and lactation, as well as to lifetime-exposure. When PFOA and PFOS occur at the same time in drinking water the EPA recommended that the sum of the concentrations ([PFOA] + [PFOS]) should have a Health Advisory of less than 0.07 μg/L  (Resource1) and (Resource2).  The 2018 Edition of the Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories Tables has the following guidelines:

PFOA – A Drinking Water Equivalent Level of 0.00037 mg/L and a Lifetime Limit of 0.00007 mg/L or 0.07 ug/L.

10-4 Cancer Risk: The concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 10,000. The level of PFOA in drinking water that would match that cancer risk is 0.05 mg/L. Note on units: ppm and mg/L are essentially the same.

PFOS – A Drinking Water Equivalent Level of 0.00037 mg/L and a Lifetime Limit of 0.00007 mg/L or 0.07 ug/L.

At this point, the numbers have not changed, but the provisional advisory level is NOW no longer provisional.  PFOSs do NOT Yet have a drinking water standard set by the EPA, but some states have set limits as low as  13 to 14 ppt  (parts per thousand) for PFAS and PFOS.

State limits for PFC compounds in drinking water are often lower than EPA's advisory and they are changing quickly as new science emerges.

California established non-binding drinking water notification levels for PFOA at 14 ppt and PFOS at 13 ppt and a combined PFOA/PFOS response level of 70 ppt.

Connecticut recommends a 70 ppt limit for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA combined.

Minnesota has proposed a limit of 15 ppt for PFOS (2019); 35 ppt for PFOA (2017); 47 ppt for PFHxS (2019); and 2 parts per billion for PFBS (2017).

North Carolina has set a target of 140 ppt for GenX in drinking water.

New Jersey has proposed a limit of 13 ppt for PFOS (2018) and 14 ppt for PFAS (2017) and in September 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection set an MCL for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) in drinking water of 0.013 µg/L, or 13 parts per trillion.

In New York, an advisory council recommended a MCL for PFOS and PFOA of 10 ppt.

Vermont currently has a health advisory of 20 ppt for any combination of five PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpA and PFNA. The state is planning to propose an MCL for the five chemicals at the same level.

Get Tested | PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs (Perfluorinated Chemicals) -

For these "forever compounds", it is best to get as much information about the source of your drinking water, the hazards in your community, and information about the quality and characteristics of the products you are currently using. Our first recommendation is to get educated on the consumer products in your home that you are using which currently contain these compounds and consider replacing them with other products. Reportedly, the nine top products that may contain PFASs (or PFCs) are: takeout containers, non-stick cookware, popcorn bags, outdoor clothing with water repellent, food wrapped with material containing PFASs, stain and water repellents, stain treatment for clothing/ furniture, carpet treatments, and some "Cosmetics" (dental floss, toothpaste, shampoo, nail polish, and eye make-up).

Regarding drinking water testing, it is best to understand the source of your drinking water and the hazards in your community around your drinking water source. At this time, we are not aware of an in-home screening test for PFASs and related compounds. To be honest, it is likely that the background level of these compounds in your home will make it difficult to detect levels in the part per trillion range.

Level 1 | Observational Self-Testing

Level 1 Testing is done with simple observations that an individual can make with their own senses such as sight, smell, and taste. These observations can be readily apparent or can be observed as they change over time. In addition, accessible related information about the home can also be used to narrow down the cause of your water issues.

Notes on Level 1 Testing for  PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs

For this series of compounds, the primary self diagnostic would be related to the presence of the products containing these compounds in your home, activities surrounding your home and drinking water source that may contain these compounds, or symptoms of exposure. For low levels of exposure, this may include interference with the body’s natural hormones, increased cholesterol levels, and adverse effects on the immune system.

"Remember that PFAS are found in the blood of humans and animals worldwide", but the levels appear to be dropping with time because of the decrease in their manufacturing and use (Source). Some PFAS remain in the body for a long time. However, biological half-life varies by chemical species. The biological half-life of a chemical is the amount of time it takes for 50% of the substance to be metabolized and/or eliminated from the body. A few examples are:

PFBA: 72 to 81 hours

PFOA: 2.1 to 10.1 years

PFOS: 3.3 to 27 years

PFHxS: 4.7 to 35 years  

(Source)

PFAS and related compounds do not have a smell, taste, or other property you can detect at the level that is a potential health concern. Therefore, you need to be proactive and learn about the hazards in your community, review Consumer Confidence Reports for your water, read the label on products you are using, and Get Your Drinking Water Tested.

Level 1 | Self-Test Web App
To do a quick and easy self diagnosis of your water, click the button below.
Launch

Level 2 | Do-It-Yourself Testing

Level 2 Testing is Do-It-Yourself testing that can be done in your own home using a Testing Kit. After you’ve done Level 1 Testing, Level 2 Testing can confirm if your observations are correct. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment (see below) or continue to Level 3 Testing.

Notes on Level 2 Testing for PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs

For PFASs, there is no in-home screening test, but we recommend checking the general quality of the water, ordering a hazard report, and considering some environmental sensitivity and genetic screening.

Recommended Level 2 Tests
National Testing LabsWaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsCityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
Crystal QuestEagle 4000A Whole House Filter and Water Conditioner

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration  of trihalomethanes is < 0.08 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L  (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POE Device)</div>

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Recommended Products
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-W-4 | WaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsL3-NATE-C-3 | CityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
Crystal QuestST-CRYS-E-02 | Eagle 4000A Whole-House Filter and Water Conditioner

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration  of trihalomethanes is < 0.08 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L  (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POE Device)</div>

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Neighborhood Environmental Report

Order a Neighborhood Environmental Report to learn about potential hazards in your community.

Level 3 | Informational Testing

Level 3 Testing is done through an accredited Water Testing Laboratory. With Level 3 Testing, you can order a testing kit that is used to prepare your sample and submit it to the lab. By utilizing a lab, you have the assurance that a certified water expert had analyzed your water sample. If your test results reveal the presence of a contaminant that is cause for concern, you can either proceed to determine the best treatment options (see below) or continue to Level 4 Testing - Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 3 Testing for PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs

For these compounds, we also suggest learning about the consumer products in your home and that you consider running some health screening tests and consider a comprehensive water quality assessment. If you never had your drinking water tested, we would also recommend conducting at least the Standard Well Water or City Water Testing Package.

Recommended Level 3 Tests
National Testing LabsWaterCheck® Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
National Testing LabsCityCheck Standard

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View
Crystal QuestEagle 4000A Whole House Filter and Water Conditioner

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration  of trihalomethanes is < 0.08 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L  (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POE Device)</div>

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Level 4 | Certified Testing

A Level 4 Certified Test Test uses chain-of-custody with a water professional coming to your home to prepare the water sample and then works with an accredited laboratory in order to certify your test results. This type of testing not only gives you the highest level of assurance in the accuracy of your test results, but can also be used as a document in legal cases. For Baseline Testing, we recommend that you use Certified Testing.

Notes on Level 4 Testing for PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs

Because PFAS is in many consumer and household products, it is wise to hire a professional with experience with this sampling protocol and it would be advisable to collect "blank" samples.

If you are looking for a treatability assessment of a water source, we recommend the following testing package in addition to documenting the level and type of compounds present:

Resin Tech - Reverse Osmosis - Water Testing for Membrane Selection

Neighborhood Environmental Report

Order a Neighborhood Environmental Report to learn about potential hazards in your community.

Get Treatment | PFOA PFOS PFAS PFCs (Perfluorinated Chemicals)

Short-Term Treatment

The first step is to determine the level of exposure and the specific PFAS compounds in the water. In some cases, it may be wise to identify the source and pathway of the contaminants so a part of the  treatment may be mitigation to protect the water source or to develop an alternative source. The EPA has evaluated water treatment systems and has found that activated carbon and reverse osmosis may be effective but this depends on the type of PFAS compound. For a treatment system to be certified for PFOA and PFOS reduction, the water system must meet NSF P473 requirements for health effects and reverse osmosis units must also meet NSF/ANSI 58 standards. In order to meet these requirements, the system must reduce the level of PFOA and PFOS to below 70 parts per trillion or 0.00007 mg/L or 0.07 ug/L. Not all filters and filter media meet these requirements. To the best of our knowledge, the NSF has certified water systems from Aquasana, A.O. Smith Corporation, Access Business Group LLC (eSpring), and  Tupperware Brands Corp (NanoNature) for PFOS/PFOA reduction.

From the NSF Website (5/19/2020), in order to comply with the standards, a device must reduce PFOA and PFOS concentrations in water to below the 70 parts per trillion (ppt), the health advisory level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Devices must also comply with material and physical requirements of NSF/ANSI 53: Drinking Water Treatment Units – Health Effects or NSF/ANSI 58: Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Treatment Systems. Certified products must be retested periodically and manufacturing facilities must be inspected every year, which ensures that the products (treatment systems) continue to meet all requirements. Previously, the PFOA and PFOS performance requirements were outlined in a protocol named NSF P473: Drinking Water Treatment Units – PFOS & PFOA. NSF International is an American product testing, inspection and certification organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Recommended Short-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

View

<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration  of trihalomethanes is < 0.08 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L  (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POE Device)</div>

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Contact a KnowYourH2O Recommended Professional

Recommendation: Seek Advice from a Local Professional (Customized Solution). Contact Us

Long-Term Treatment

In developing a long-term treatment system approach, it is critical to understand the water source and to mitigate the source of the contamination. For large-scale applications, it will be necessary to hire or engage a water quality expert and engineering team, but for smaller rural applications it may be possible to implement a system approach that includes a combination of source protection and modification, whole-house water treatment, and point-of-use treatment systems. The primary water treatment systems approaches include granular-activated-carbon, powdered granular-carbon, anion exchange resins, and high-pressure R/O membranes (nanofiltration) (search the EPA Treatability Database). "The WRF found that aeration, chlorine dioxide, dissolved air flotation, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, granular filtration, and microfiltration were all ineffective for removing PFASs including PFOA and PFOS. Anion exchange was moderately effective in treating PFOA, highly effective for PFOS, and failed to remove several other PFASs. Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis proved to be the most effective methods of removing even the smallest PFASs. Granular-activated-carbon (GAC) was shown to be adept at removing most PFASs and it may be the average utility’s best bet for PFOA and PFOS contamination"  (Source).

"Ion exchange resins such as ResinTech SIR-110- HP have demonstrated high capacity for PFAS compounds and are currently used to remove traces of PFAS from water. IX resin has an advantage over carbon in that it is much faster kinetically and requires much shorter empty-bed contact times to be effective. In most cases, their throughput capacity greatly exceeds that of granular carbon. Although IX resins work better for the longer chain PFAS compounds such as PFOS and PFOA, they are also able to remove shorter chain PFAS such as PFBA, PFHxS, and even GenX, albeit with somewhat lower throughput capacity before breakthrough. Regeneration and re-use is possible, although the requirements are somewhat complicated. In most cases, spent ion exchange resins used for PFAS removal are incinerated or otherwise disposed of after use (Guest Author - Mr. Peter Meyer, Resin Tech, Inc.)"

Granular Activated Carbon can remove PFOS and PFOA, but removes PFOS more efficiently. "Reagglomerated Bituminous-Coal Granular-Activated-Carbon outperforms coconut-based granular-activated-carbon". In addition, "All PFAS was removed using virgin & reactivated GAC" and the "Lower molecular weight PFAS exhibit lower loadings and earlier  breakthrough times"  In general, the relationship of breakthrough times was as follows: PFBA << PFHxA < PFBS < PFOA < PFHxS < PFOS (Source).  Regarding anion resins, these resins can and do perform well, but all resins are not the same and the efficiency of the resins can be influenced by the raw water chemistry.  Based on available information, it appears that nanofiltration and reverse osmosis are the most effective methods of removing even the smallest PFASs.

Recommended Long-Term Treatments

<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

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<div class="product-note in-L4-sulfur-treatment">Note: Use in combination with Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria Test</div>

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<div class="product-note in-L6-benzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-carbon-tetrachloride">Note: If the concentration is < 0.004 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-chloroform-trichloromethane">Note: If the concentration  of trihalomethanes is < 0.08 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-ethylbenzene">Note: If the concentration is < 0.03 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-methylene-chloride-dichloromethane-dcm">Note: If the concentration is < 0.005 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-atrazine">Note: If the concentration is < 0.001 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-alachlor">Note: If the concentration is < 0.002 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-glyphosate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.7 mg/L  (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-2-4-d">Note: If the concentration is < 0.07 mg/L (POE Device)</div>
<div class="product-note in-L6-bis-2-ethylhexyl-phthalate">Note: If the concentration is < 0.006 mg/L (POE Device)</div>

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