New Health Advisories Issued by EPA for 4 PFAS Chemicals

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the establishment of new health advisories for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on June 15, 2022. The advisories convey the maximum level of lifetime consumption deemed safe by the EPA for these substances. They represent some of the most recent efforts by the Agency to help protect against the dangers associated with PFAS chemicals.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Characterized by a chain of carbon and fluorine atoms linked via very strong carbon-fluorine bonds, PFAS are synthetic chemical compounds that are extremely resistant to degradation. With current or previous use in many different industries, these substances are found frequently in food, drinking water, and many household products. A wide range of human health risks can be presented by these “forever chemicals”, and many factors underlie them. These factors include:

  • Bioaccumulation -- Levels of PFAS within the human body can build up over time, as their absorption often exceeds their elimination.
  • Exposure Frequency -- Their widespread use in a multitude of consumer and commercial products means the opportunities for exposure to PFAS are numerous.
  • Persistence -- PFAS remain within the human body and in the environment for very long periods of time.
  • Quantity -- Several thousand PFAS are known to exist.
  • Widespread Occurrence -- Studies have demonstrated the presence of PFAS in a very large percentage of the population.

PFAS-related health effects are extensive and may include hypertension, kidney cancer, low birth weight and immunotoxicity (in children), testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and a host of other problems. Research continues to be conducted to understand more fully the diversity of health effects and other risks posed by PFAS.


The four PFAS chemicals for which new health advisories were recently established are shown in the table below:

Substance NameAbbreviation
perfluorooctanoic acidPFOA
perfluorooctane sulfonic acidPFOS
hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium saltHFPO-DA (GenX)
perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium saltPFBS

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

  • PFOA and PFOS

    • The EPA established new health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). While most manufacturers in this country have phased out uses of PFOA and PFOS voluntarily, the chemicals persist in the environment.
  • HFPO-DA and PFBS

    • The EPA established health advisories for hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid and its ammonium salt (HFPO-DA (GenX)), as well as for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and its potassium salt (PFBS). This is the first time that such advisories have been established for these chemicals. GenX chemicals can be regarded as a replacement for PFOA in product and chemical manufacturing. Similarly, PFBS can be regarded as a replacement for PFOS.

More information on the recent PFAS health advisories can be accessed via the EPA website as it becomes available

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