On November 1, 2017, New Jersey officials announced that they would set Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for public drinking water systems for PFOA and PFNA, making the Garden State the first in the nation to do so.

PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) belong to a group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).    The substances have been used in a wide variety of consumer products and industrial applications ranging from carpet manufacturing to firefighting foams.

The state has indicated that the MCL for PFOA will be 14 parts per trillion and the MCL for PFNA will be 13 parts per trillion.  These limits are less than the limits of 70 parts per trillion noted in the federal EPA’s health advisory.

There has been significant scrutiny on PFASs in recent years although the link between the substances and human health has not been clearly understood.  We would expect other states to evaluate adding limits for PFASs in their drinking water standards in light of New Jersey’s first step in this direction.