North Andover, Massachusetts 978-688-7804

PFAS and Environmental Site Assessments – What You Should Know

Pollution Assessment & Remediation

Oct 07, 2019

What Are They? Why Should You Care?

PFAS are emerging contaminants that have caught the eye of regulators because of their adverse health effects, and now having drinking water quality and waste site cleanup standards, they are something else to look for when conducting environmental due diligence on property. PFAS are a group of compounds called Per-and PolyFluoroAlky Substances – synthetic substances used in a variety of industrial, agricultural, military, and commercial applications both in the United States and around the world. Since the 1940’s,  PFAS were used in the manufacture of non-stick cookware, firefighting foam, and stain and water repellent fabric and packaging. There are more than 100 PFAS compounds but currently PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) are of most concern because of their persistence in the environment and potential adverse health effects.  Like solvents and oils, government officials are concerned that PFAS’ ubiquity to economic growth resulted in widespread environmental contamination.  This has yet to be seen, but numerous major public water supply systems across the United States are contaminated with PFAS.  Click here to learn more about PFAS at EPA.

When To Test

Locally, New England, including Massachusetts & New Hampshire, environmental regulators have published draft or final reportable concentration limits for PFAS compounds in their waste site cleanup program, and maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in their drinking water program. Test with good cause. Not out of blind fear.  Knowing when to test is knowing where to look.  SAK’s approach to determining PFAS risk in environmental due diligence includes reviewing current and historic land use for PFAS high risk industries, reviewing safety Data Sheets when available for PFAS compounds, their trade names, and other chemicals associated with PFAS use or production.  A company that had PFAS-containing packaging pass-through their facility is not of great concern, but a facility applying conformal coatings to electronics or clothing could present risk. Understanding chemistry and product applications matter. Contact SAK Environmental at 978-688-7804 to learn more about environmental due diligence and PFAS.

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