On May 16, 2016, EPA issued final drinking water health advisories for PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate ) which set the acceptable life-time level for these chemicals in drinking water at 70 parts per trillion (0.07 ug/L), combined, “to offer a margin of protection against adverse health effects to the most sensitive populations.” PFOA and PFOS are found in a variety of consumer products and have industrial applications. These chemicals are stable, persistent and bioaccumulate in the food chain.
The EPA’s health advisories are not drinking water standards nor cleanup goals. Instead, EPA describes them as “informal technical guidance” to assist governmental officials, managers of public water systems and others when spills occur or contamination is identified. While there is no federal standard for either PFOS or PFOA, some states have developed drinking water guideline values for PFOA or PFOS.