If you are a customer of PPWSD, you should have received a letter regarding our PFAS lab results from 2022. Perhaps you have questions? That’s why we have added more information to this website. To begin with, we want to explain more about reading the lab tests and hopefully answer some of your questions through the FAQs below.
PPWSD Frequently Asked Questions about PFAS
What is PFAS?
It is an abbreviation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances which are manmade chemicals used in metal plating and a wide variety of consumer products including fire-suppressing foam, carpets, paints, polishes and waxes. The most studied types of PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Other monitored PFAS are for GenX, PFBS, PFNA, PFHxS, and PFBS. The list continues to grow as more PFAS types are detected.
What is the difference between the two PFAS compound types of PFOA and PFOS?
They are the two most widely detected types of PFAS chemicals, perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which have been used extensively in products.
Are PFAS compounds in water regulated?
Currently, PFAS compounds (a group of thousands of per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are not regulated. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released new recommendations, known as health advisories, on two compounds, GenX and PFBS, and lower health advisories for PFOA and PFOS and is evaluating additional actions to address other PFAS.
Why are we just now hearing about PFAS if it has been in products for years?
Different types of PFAS compounds are difficult to detect – especially in water. It’s only recently that laboratory testing technology could even see them at the levels being discussed. Technological advances now allow us to detect concentrations in the parts per trillion (ppt) range. The health advisory limits, however, are below what can be currently detected. The scientific understanding and regulatory response to these compounds is uncertain but rapidly evolving. This includes potential public health implications. PPWSD is working with the state and will continue to monitor the new EPA drinking water health advisories for PFAS chemicals.
What are the advisory levels of PFAS?
The U.S. EPA has set a health advisory level for PFAS in drinking water of “not to exceed” for the combined amount of PFAS. That is the level, or amount, below which no harm is expected from these chemicals, based on daily consumption over a lifetime. You can view the current advisory levels at this link: the EPA released new recommendations.
How does the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regulate PFAS?
The CDPHE regulates PFAS based on the U.S. EPA’s advisories. The EPA has established health advisories on many of the PFAS compounds. Health advisory levels are set to safeguard people, especially sensitive groups, with a margin of protection.
What is a health advisory?
A health advisory provides information on substances that can cause negative human health effects. Health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory. The PFAS health advisory levels were calculated to offer a margin of protection for all people, including sensitive populations and ages, against adverse health effects and to consider other potential sources of exposure beyond drinking water (for example, food, air, consumer products, etc.). Because PFAS substances have been used in an array of consumer products, most people have been exposed to them and have them in their system.
What can be done about PFAS?
PPWSD’s staff remains committed to protecting the safety of your drinking water. Drinking water providers test their product more than just about any other industry. Water quality is highly regulated, primarily through the CDPHE, which is responsible for enforcement of EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act. Measuring PFAS in water is easy compared to measuring exposure from other sources of PFAS like clothing, food packaging, or dental floss. We encourage residents to avoid anything containing PFAS when purchasing consumers goods and new household products. This will help protect your health and prevent the compounds from further entering our environment. PFAS is a growing national concern, and you can be assured that PPWSD will continue to closely monitor and work with the CDPHE and EPA regulatory agencies.
What is Perry Park Water & Sanitation District doing to address PFAS?
We will continue testing for PFAS compounds and working to address this situation in coordination with the state. We will also continue to provide information about PFAS, what people can do, and our lab results. You can find additional information at this link: www.colorado.gov/cdphe/pfas.
Where can I see test results of PPWSD’s drinking water quality?
Independent lab verified testing results for over 100 contaminants, including PFAS, are available for review on the PPWSD’s water quality report (Consumer Confidence Report) by clicking on this link: https://www.ppwsd.org/water/water-quality/.