Perfluoroalkyl & Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, and oil. They have been used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, such as non-stick cookware, food packaging, and firefighting foam. Due to their persistence and potential adverse health effects, California has established regulations to limit their use and exposure.
PFAS have been associated with a variety of health risks, including cancer, reproductive and developmental issues, liver damage, immune system effects, thyroid disease, and also high cholesterol. Overall, the health risks associated with PFAS exposure are still being studied, and there is much that is still unknown. However, many regulatory agencies and health organizations consider PFAS to be a potential threat to human health, and they have implemented measures to reduce exposure and protect public health.
In California, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has established a drinking water notification level of 5.1 parts per trillion (ppt) for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and 6.5 ppt for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Notification levels are not regulatory standards, but they indicate the concentration at which the water supplier must notify the public and the SWRCB if PFAS are detected in the drinking water.
California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has listed PFOA and PFOS as chemicals known to cause reproductive toxicity under Proposition 65, which requires businesses to provide a clear and reasonable warning before knowingly exposing people to listed chemicals. In addition, California has designated PFOA and PFOS as hazardous substances, which triggers reporting and cleanup requirements under state law. The California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) has also developed a program to evaluate alternatives to PFAS in consumer products and has restricted the use of PFAS in certain products, such as carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture.
In summary, California has taken a proactive approach to addressing the potential risks associated with PFAs exposure and has implemented a range of regulations to protect public health and the environment. Consulting companies can play a critical role in helping businesses and industries manage PFAs in an environmentally responsible manner. By recommending best practices for reuse, recycling, storage, and handling, consulting companies can help businesses and industries reduce their environmental impact and comply with regulatory requirements.
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