Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large family of synthetic chemicals used for a wide variety of purposes. In recent years, scientists have concluded that some of these substances can pose human health risks. In 2016, EPA issued a lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for two PFAS compounds (PFOA and PFOS) in drinking water.
States have responded in different ways to EPA’s advisory; some are requesting further federal regulatory action and several have taken regulatory action themselves. The increasingly complex landscape of federal and state activities is making it harder for each state to address its citizens’ concerns about PFAS risks. EPA, for its part, is working to develop a national strategy for addressing the health risks of PFAS contamination. As EPA develops and implements that strategy, ECOS is helping states communicate and coordinate with EPA and each other about scientific and policy developments, newly-identified sources and exposure pathways, and best practices for investigation, corrective action, and public engagement.
PFAS Risk Communications Hub
In 2018, ECOS and ASTHO interviewed environmental and health agency staff from 13 states and developed case studies on their risk communication strategies and lessons learned for PFAS and HABs. Building upon lessons learned from this effort, ECOS and ASTHO in 2019 developed a clearinghouse of PFAS risk communication resources to help state environmental and health managers more easily collaborate and disseminate audience-appropriate information on chemicals of emerging concern.
Check out the case studies and other risk communication resources on the clearinghouse webpage.