Why Worry about PFAS?
PFAS (per- andpolyfluoroalkyl substances) have been around since the 1940’s and have become an integral part of many products. So why are so many regulators and stake holders worried? The concern is that they are nearly indestructible man-made chemicals that don’t break down or dissipate and tend to bioaccumulate. That’s why they are known as Forever Chemicals.
Chances are, you’re wearing PFAS right now. They’re used to make fireproof clothing, stain and water-resistant fabrics, carpet, paper treatment, non-stick cookware, chrome plating, cleaning products, paint, ski wax, firefighting foam and potato chip & popcorn bags just to name a few.
They are inside 97% of animals and humans worldwide and since they bioaccumulate we gain more and more of this chemical in our bodies over time. This accumulation can have some very serious, adverse health effects.
Research, Restrict, Remediate
The EPA (who identified the problem in the 1990’s) recently published a report on their three-prong plan to Research, Restrict, and Remediate the use of PFAS. In essence the report promises they’ll study the problem, try to restrict use of a few specific variations of PFAS and try to remove contaminated environments.They are still unwilling to ban it completely but did officially acknowledge PFAS as a Contaminant of Emerging Concern (CEC) leaving it up to individual states to decide what to do.
Several states have banned the use of Polyfluoroalkyl substances in their states, but global supply chains make a PFAS free state impossible.
The CDC announced that several studies link PFAS exposure and health issues including high cholesterol, low vaccine response in children, issues with liver enzymes, high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, decreased infant birth weight and increased risk of cancers in the kidney, liver, pancreas, testicles, and thyroid.
How Much is OK?
Like lead, “None” is the answer as to what the safe level of exposure to PFASis. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet established a national limit on PFAS exposure, but it has set Health Advisory Levels (HAL). Recently, the EPA lowered its interim lifetime HAL for perfluorooctanoic acid(PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) from 70 parts per trillion (ppt) combined to 0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.02 ppt for PFOS. These new HAL’s are set so low that detection at these levels is very problematic.
If you are responsible for water treatment processes, wastewater applications or environmental monitoring, you will most likely be required to screen and report PFAS levels in accordance with EPA, State or Municipal regulations.Current PFAS analysis methods entail proficient sample collection, complex instrumentation, and professional scientists to ensure the accuracy and precision expected from a qualified laboratory. Accuracy and precision are indeed very important when it comes to PFAS results. But what about adding “Fast” to the list?
One company recently announced their PFAS testing only requires 7 days to process. In the PFAS analysis market, 7 days is considered quick. With that in mind, Retego set out to design a rapid method that retains the accuracy and precision expected within the low levels of detection required for PFAS compliance and treatment monitoring. Our new PFAS-Q7 (PFAS Quick7) Method will not take 7 days, but will only take minutes!
No Need for Laboratory Expertise or Complex Instrumentation
We are in the final advanced development and validation stages of an innovative method that, for the first time, allows PFAS to be detected visually, on-site! That’s right: you will see low detectable PFAS levels by the colorimetric change occurring in the sample and will not require specialized training.