Establishing PFOA & PFOS Criteria

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The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has developed drinking water criteria for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) [CAS # 335-67-1] and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) [CAS # 1763-23-1]. The residential and nonresidential drinking water criteria are 0.07 μg/L (70 parts per trillion) for the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS. The criteria will take effect January 10, 2018. 


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which include PFOA and PFOS, have been classified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as emerging contaminants on the national level. PFAS are a class of chemicals historically used in thousands of applications throughout the industrial, food, and textile industries. Typically, they are stable, breaking down very slowly in the environment, and are highly soluble, easily transferring through soil to groundwater. PFAS groundwater and surface water contamination has been identified in several locations across Michigan as a result of their use in multiple applications. PFAS are used in firefighting foams, food packaging, cleaning products, and various other products. PFAS are also used by many industries such as plating, tanneries, or clothing manufacturers, where waterproofing may be required or a protective film is needed in a manufacturing process.


The legal basis for development of the generic cleanup criteria is Part 201, Environmental Remediation, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended, and the Part 201 Administrative Rules. Rule provisions [R 299.6(9) et al] allow the department to determine that a substance not listed in the generic cleanup criteria tables is a hazardous substance using best available information about toxicological and physical-chemical properties of the substance, and to use that information to develop a generic criteria. The new criteria developed pursuant to these rules take effect when published and announced by the MDEQ.


The generic residential and nonresidential drinking water criteria for PFOA and PFOS are not calculated using the algorithms of R 299.10 or the toxicological or chemical-physical data of R 299.50, consistent with provisions of R 299.6, R 299.10(3) and R 299.34. The PFOA and PFOS drinking water criteria are the health advisory values as presented in the United States Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water Health Advisories for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), EPA 822-R-16-005, May 2016 and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), EPA 822-R-16-004, May 2016. Compliance with the drinking water criteria requires comparing the sum of the PFOA and PFOS groundwater concentrations to the drinking water criteria of 0.07 μg/L. The drinking water criteria for PFOA and PFOS protect for both short-term developmental and chronic exposures.


The target detection limit (TDL) for PFOA and PFOS is 0.005 ug/L (5 parts per trillion) in water. The TDL will be incorporated into the next revision of the published MDEQ list of Target Detection Limits and designated analytical methods.


Questions or concerns regarding the criteria should be sent to:


Or may be mailed to:

Ms. Christine Flaga, Chief, Toxicology Unit
Remediation and Redevelopment Division
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 30426
Lansing, Michigan 48909-7926
Phone: 517-284-5098