David Metres presented on the emerging law and regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and liability and litigation results arising from PFAS contamination at AEHS's 29th Annual Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air in San Diego, California from March 18-21, 2019.


Elizabeth Denly, ASQ CMQ/OE, TRC, Lowell, MA
Amy Wilson, PhD, PE, TRC, Concord, CA
Jenny Phillips, DABT, TRC, Fort Collins, CO
Martha Maier, Vista Analytical Laboratory, El Dorado Hills, CA
David Metres, Barg Coffin Lewis and Trapp, San Francisco, CA
Alexander MacDonald, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, Sacramento, CA


PFAS (per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) are a diverse group of man-made chemicals that are resistant to heat, water, and oil. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the most commonly detected PFAS in humans, biota, and other environmental media, and are also the most commonly regulated PFAS. An increasing number of studies performed globally indicate that PFAS are ubiquitous. Their persistence and ability to transport are of growing concern, as resistance to natural attenuation processes in groundwater results in long-distance migration in plumes, potentially affecting drinking water supplies. Health effects and toxicity are only beginning to be understood. The demand for PFAS testing and analysis has increased, and because of their ubiquitous nature, PFAS present both a sampling challenge and an important consideration in source attribution by regulators. This workshop is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding and the most up-to-date information associated with PFAS, including: history and sources of PFAS; regulatory status and future industrial/legal implications; the unique chemistry of PFAS, including precursors; exposure, health effects, and toxicity; sampling and analytical challenges and options; fate and transport; remediation challenges; data evaluation; and forensics. The presenters were selected based on their intimate knowledge of the issues and their ability to answer practical questions. Attendees are encouraged to raise topics for discussion about the technical and regulatory challenges associated with PFAS investigations.

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