The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently released a draft toxicological profile for perfluoroalkyl compounds which asserted that they may be harmful to human health at low levels. The profile includes minimum risk levels for various perfluoroalkyl compounds, which are estimates of the daily human exposure to a substance likely to be without appreciable risk of adverse non-cancer health effects over specified exposure routes and durations.

Although different in kind from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 2016 70-parts-per-trillion drinking water health advisory for two perfluoroalkyl compounds (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), the minimum risk levels would probably translate to lower health advisory numbers than the EPA's.

Due to their non-stick properties, perfluoroalkyl compounds have been used:

  • as non-stick coatings for cookware;
  • as paper and cardboard surface coatings; and
  • in firefighting foam.

Perfluoroalkyl compounds have been associated with a number of possible adverse health effects. The comment period for the draft toxicological profile for perfluoroalkyl closed on 23 July 2018. The EPA has separately begun to focus on perfluoroalkyl compounds, having held a summit in May 2018 at which various regulatory approaches were discussed.

For further information on this topic please contact Samuel B Boxerman or Jim Wedeking at Sidley Austin LLP by telephone (+1 202 736 8000) or email (sboxerman@sidley.com or jwedeking@sidley.com). The Sidley Austin LLP website can be accessed at www.sidley.com.

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