PFOS and PFOA Regulations

Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

What do Scotchguard, non-stick cookware, and water have in common? They all contain environmental chemicals of growing concern known as perfluoroalkyl substances – particularly PFOS and PFOA.  In the United States, these persistent synthetic compounds have been used since the early 1950’s and are detected in the blood serum of nearly every person tested.  PFOS and PFOA are associated with adverse human health affects to include fetal and infant development; cancer; immune & liver effects; and pose a significant risk to wildlife.  Once released into the environment, these water-soluble compounds readily contaminate soil and water sources and can migrate great distances.  Perfluorinated chemicals are slow to biodegrade and have been found in remote and pristine waters covering the planet.  

For more information about these contaminants, the EPA has release their “Emerging Contaminant Fact Sheet – PFOS and PFOA” available here.

In 2016, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued a non-binding health advisory of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, either singly or combined. EPA defines this as “the concentration of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water below which adverse health effects are not anticipated to occur over a lifetime of exposure.”

Several States, including Minnesota, New Jersey, and North Carolina have established their own groundwater and drinking water guidelines to further protect the public from exposure to PFOS and PFOA.  Effective July 13, 2018, California took their first steps to establish a state level MCL by establishing a Notification Level (NL) for these compounds.  Routine monitoring for PFOS and PFOA are not required.  However, between 2013-2015, six perfluoroalkyl substances were included in the UCMR3 and required monitoring for all large water utilities throughout the U.S. Once detected above the NL, California Water Resource Control Boards require notification and recommends removal of the source.

SAMS Water can play a significant role in your utilities monitoring and sample tracking for these compounds.  UCMR3 data can readily be uploaded into SAMS Water from contract lab data or other internal databases. Custom reports and charting of data can be created. And most importantly, if future monitoring is necessary, projects within SAMS Water will keep your utility on track for collecting samples in a timely manner.  Call NJBsoft today at 602-759-1905 to discuss your water quality monitoring and reporting needs.


Kenneth Marshall (



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