Massachusetts and Vermont are the most recent states to propose stringent standards to regulate PFAS. Last week, in response to a petition from the Conservation Law Foundation and the Toxics Action Center seeking a limit of 1 part per trillion (ppt) for any of 3,000 types of per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced its intent to regulate five PFAS (PFOA, PFOS, PFHpA, PFNA, and PFHxS) in drinking water. DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg noted that analytical methods and treatment technologies are available to test for and manage the contamination, though the treatment technique and regulation of the thousands of chemicals recommended in the petition may be overreach.
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, which was also petitioned by the Conservation Law Foundation, also proposed new standards for a group of five PFAS compounds. In what would be the most stringent limits nationally on fluorinated chemicals in drinking water, ANR announced its proposal to adopt a maximum contaminant level of 20 ppt for each of the five PFAS. Vermont has been using the 20 ppt limit as an emergency health advisory since July 2018.
Some states have proposed or adopted stringent standards for individual or multiple PFAS compounds, while other states rely on U.S. EPA’s health advisory of 70 ppt combined for PFOA and PFOS. The Conservation Law Foundation has petitioned almost every New England state, with Connecticut denying its petition entirely and New Hampshire declining to regulate beyond the four PFAS already agreed upon by its Legislature last year.