Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances (PFAS)

The per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Fluoropolymer coatings can be in a variety of products. These include clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, and the insulation of electrical wire. Many PFAS, including perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), are a concern because they:

  • do not break down in the environment,
  • can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources,
  • build up (bioaccumulate) in fish and wildlife.

PFAS are found in rivers and lakes and in many types of animals on land and in the water. (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)

The Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association (MABA) recommends that regulatory and legislative groups work to contain PFAS releases at their source, through use of the industrial pretreatment program, product bans, and other preventive measures, not after their escape into sewers. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is driving development of PFAS analysis protocols in wastewater and biosolids, which currently are not approved for regulatory use, and will be using new risk assessment tools to establish standards and limits for concentrations. regulatory and legislative groups should await these protocols and federal guidance before obligating biosolids generators to spend public money.

Additionally, MABA recommends that disclosure of PFAS chemicals in product content should be made mandatory in all states within the mid-atlantic region. 

The “polluter pays” principle that guides many environmental protections in the state of the mid-atlantic region should be applied to reducing human and environmental risks from PFAS.

Download the complete MABA PFAS Position Statement.
Download the March 2022 MABA PFAS Press Release.
Download the EPA Joint Principles for Preventing and Managing PFAS in Biosolids
Download the EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap: Second Annual Progress Report (December 2023)

MABA is dedicated to assisting its members with handling this difficult subject matter and growing issue in the biosolids community.  The PFAS Focus Group has created an extensive repository for PFAS related information on MABA’s members only section of the website. We invite you to visit the specific PFAS related pages listed below (also available in the Resources drop down menu):

PFAS in Biosolids
Transformation of PFAS in wastewater and/or biosolids treatment
Fate of Biosolids-Borne PFAS when Land Applied
Thermal treatment of PFAS
Comparisons of PFAS in other products/exposure
PFAS Health Effects

Biosolids PFAS Policies, Fact Sheets and Commentary

In partnership with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, MABA presented a webinar for news organizations on Tuesday, October 24, 2023. Learn more about the webinar and view the recording

If you have any questions, or need login assistance, please contact Mary Firestone, executive director, via email at [email protected], or via phone at 845-901-7905.