Connecticut Department Of Public Health Updates Drinking Water Action Level For Per And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2022
CONTACT: Chris Boyle, Director of Communications
(860) 706-9654 – firstname.lastname@example.org
HARTFORD, Conn.—The Connecticut Department of Public Health updated its drinking water Action Levels for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) which are:
- 10 parts-per-trillion (ppt; ng/L) for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)
- 12 parts-per-trillion (ppt; ng/L) for perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)
- 16 parts-per trillion (ppt; ng/L) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
- 49 parts-per-trillion (ppt; ng/L) for perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS)
“The new action levels for individual PFAS reflect the evolving scientific evidence on their toxicity and are more protective of public health than the previous Connecticut action levels,” said DPH Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD.
Commissioner Juthani added that Connecticut’s new individual PFAS Action Levels also are consistent with the range of drinking water guidelines and standards recently established by other states, including neighboring states in the northeast. Connecticut’s Drinking Water Action Levels protect all residents, including sensitive populations, from adverse health effects from a lifetime of exposure to these PFAS in drinking water.
In light of these updated Connecticut Drinking Water Action Levels, DPH has renewed its recommendation to all public water systems to test the water delivered to their customers for PFAS and to report the results. It is DPH’s expectation that public water systems with PFAS in the water distributed to customers will inform their customers and evaluate actions the water systems can take to reduce exposures, such as taking a source of supply off-line, if possible, blend with other sources or turn to an alternative source of drinking water while the system works with DPH on possible treatment or source replacement.
Action Levels can be used as guidance by Local Health Departments and private well owners when evaluating the potability of well water. Action Levels are non-enforceable and are intended to be used as guidance by Local Health Departments and private well owners when evaluating the potability of well water. There are currently no enforceable federal drinking water standards for chemicals in the PFAS family. This action level update is a result of ongoing implementation of Human Health Recommendation 1.1.e. of Governor Ned Lamont’s Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force PFAS Action Plan.
PFAS are a group of more than 5,000 manufactured chemicals with many useful properties including the ability to repel water, prevent staining, and increase heat resistance. PFAS have many industrial and consumer uses including fabric, carpet, electrical wire and non-stick coatings, food packaging, and firefighting foam used to extinguish petroleum fires.
The four most studied PFAS are PFOS, PFOA, PFNA and PFHxS, which are found at the greatest frequency and concentration in the environment as well as in humans and wildlife. These PFAS also have been detected in drinking water in Connecticut. While PFOS and PFOA have been largely phased out of production, they are very persistent chemicals that can remain in the environment for a long time.
“The main health concerns based on animal data from ingestion of PFAS are effects on the liver and immune system, and on growth, reproduction and fetal development,” said Commissioner Juthani. “PFAS also can affect the endocrine and hormonal systems and can disturb blood lipids such as cholesterol. Some studies of PFOA have also shown an increased risk for kidney cancer, and at very high exposure levels, for testicular cancer. We look forward to further scientific evidence on the impact of PFAS on human health.”
Also today, the US Environmental Protection Agency announced new drinking water lifetime health advisories for four compounds in the PFAS family. EPA health advisories provide information on contaminants that can cause human health effects and are known or anticipated to occur in drinking water. Similar to the DPH Drinking Water Levels, EPA's health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory and provide technical information to states agencies and other public health officials.
Two of the EPA Health Advisories announced today are interim Health Advisories, meaning that they are draft values and are subject to continued peer review of the underlying science and may change before they are finalized.
Over the coming weeks and months, DPH will be reviewing the toxicological science that EPA shares in support of these newly announced interim and final health advisories. The interim health advisories for PFOA and PFOS are important milestones to help inform the public now, while EPA works to set a national drinking water standard for these chemicals. DPH will continue to work with EPA and await their final levels while striving for the health advisory levels that they have announced.
Additional resources can be found on DPH’s PFAS Information Webpage