PFAS can be found in many consumer goods, such as clothing, cosmetics, plastics, and paper food packaging. PFAS chemicals are found in industry as well, either as a component, in containers for finished goods, or in the materials used during production, e.g., an industrial lubricant. The extent to which PFAS used in industrial and consumer products present a risk to human health and the environment is a matter of ongoing research.
On-going research is shining a light on the toxicity of certain PFAS, including PFOA, PFOS, PFBS, GenX, and more. As these toxic compounds are increasingly regulated, phased out, or discontinued, new PFAS are developed to take their place. Replacement PFAS have similar chemical properties, but their chemical structures differ from legacy PFAS. Until more is known about the toxicity of other categories of PFAS compounds, the EPA plans to limit the introduction of new PFAS into commerce by applying a rigorous premanufacture review process under the TSCA New Chemicals program.
Several states have introduced legislation banning the sale of products in which PFAS have been intentionally added, most notably in food packaging and cosmetics. Some have proposed bans on all PFAS, while others are focused on the most toxic compounds, like PFOA and PFOS. Many of the laws proposed also have more restrictive clauses that will kick in once a suitable replacement compound can be identified.
Pace® has developed methods for analyzing for PFAS in fluoropolymers and fluorinated containers. PFAS can leach from these containers into the products within, spreading contamination when these products are consumed or used. One of the most recent high-profile examples is that of pesticides that were found to contain PFAS that had been leached from the containers in which the compounds had been stored.
When articles of commerce are disposed of, they typically wind up in a municipal or industrial landfill where they can contaminate the leachate sent to the local wastewater treatment plant. Liquid waste products dumped down a drain or allowed to run off into storm drains take a more direct route to wastewater treatment. Either path is problematic because traditional wastewater treatment does not remove PFAS and can convert PFAS precursors into terminal PFAS.
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We can test for PFAS in both solid and aqueous matrices, including potable and non-potable waters, soils, and biota.
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