Review of Interim USEPA Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS and Other Relevant Information

By Jessie A. Gleason, Chair Perry D. Cohn, Keith R. Cooper, Judith B. Klotz, Gloria B. Post
February 23, 2023

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Shawn LaTourette requested that the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute (DWQI) review the scientific basis of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA, 2022a,b) interim drinking water Health Advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The interim USEPA Health Advisories are health-based drinking water concentrations that do not consider analytical and treatment limitations, and they are below the current New Jersey Practical Quantitation Levels (PQLs) for PFOA and PFOS. Specifically, the DWQI was asked to determine whether current scientific information supports health-based drinking water concentrations below the New Jersey PQLs of 4 ng/L for PFOA and 6 ng/L for PFOS.

The Health Effects Subcommittee has reviewed the interim United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA, 2022a,b) Health Advisories, the draft USEPA (2021a,b) health effects assessments that provide the basis for the interim Health Advisories, and the USEPA Science Advisory Board (USEPA SAB, 2022)1 evaluation of the draft USEPA (2021a,b) assessments. Other relevant information was also reviewed including key recent peer-reviewed publications, relevant recent PFOA and PFOS evaluations based on human data by other authoritative organizations, the USEPA (2021c) draft document on approaches for risk assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) mixtures, and previous Subcommittee conclusions on health effects and risk assessment of PFAS.

While USEPA Health Advisories are based only on non-cancer effects, the USEPA (2021a,b) health effects assessments evaluated both non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic effects. Because New Jersey Health-based Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) consider both non-cancer effects and cancer risk, the Subcommittee considered information on both non-carcinogenic effects and cancer risk in its evaluation. Based on this review, the subcomittee concluded that the multiple lines of evidance indicate that the current scientific information supports health-based drinking water concentrations below the current New Jersey PQLs of 4 ng/L for PFOA and 6 ng/L for PFOS.

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Source:  (Reports and MCL Recommendations tab)