Lowering the bar

Published:  25 June, 2018

New minimum risk levels for PFAS expected to have major impact on firefighting-foam-contaminated facilities across the US.

The US Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has published a draft toxicological profile for a range of PFAS chemicals.

The draft report defines the level at which no harm would be expected to people from exposure at 7 parts per trillion for PFOS and 11ppt for PFOA. The new limits are significantly lower than the health advisory levels of the US Environmental Protection Agency, which were set at a combined 70ppt in May 2016.

The ATSDR is also proposing minimum risk levels for PFHxS and PFNA, chemicals for which there are currently no federal standards.

Publication of the draft report was initially blocked by the EPA and the White House due to fears of a ‘public relations nightmare’. According to emails obtained by the non-profit organisation Union of Concerned Scientists, attempts were made by the White House Office of Management and Budget, the EPA and the DoD to strong-arm the ATSDR into censoring the report.

In the absence of enforceable rules on acceptable PFAS levels in drinking water, lakes and rivers, regulators have used the EPA level as a standard. The DoD has increasingly been under the spotlight due to its AFFF firefighting foam containing PFOA; lower safety levels could have significant impact on response and clean-up efforts at PFAS-contaminated sites around the US. Currently the DoD only supplies long-term water to homes near DoD-owned PFAS-contaminated sites if levels are above 70ppt.

The new toxicological profiles were published 20 June and are subject to public comment until 23 July. Comments can be submitted here.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.