The Thursday June 20 NEOCHMM meeting was held at Stark State College in Canton. Karla Buechler, Corporate Technical Director of Eurofins TestAmerica gave a webinar presentation on PFAS Basics – An Introduction to the Chemistry, Sources, Regulation, and Analysis.

PFAS is short for perfluoroalky and polyfluoroalkyl substances and includes chemicals known as PFOS, PFOA and GenX. They are a family of potentially thousands of synthetic chemicals that are extremely persistent in the environment and in our bodies. PFAS chemicals have been highly utilized in various industries because of their ability to repel oil and water. They've been manufactured since they were first developed in 1948 and can be found in Teflon nonstick products, stains and water repellants, paints, cleaning products, furniture, carpeting, food packaging and firefighting foams. GenX and other chemicals that are used as replacements for PFOA also lead to the creation of unintended chemicals and precursors which many believe are just as harmful as the chemicals they are intended to replace.

The half-life of these chemicals, depending on the analyte, is 2 to 9 years. They persist in the environment as well as the body and can also accumulate over time. Exposure occurs mainly through ingestion and the chemicals primarily affect the blood, liver, kidneys, and spleen.

The U.S. EPA Drinking Water Health Advisory Limits of PFOA and PFOS is 70 ppt which are considered by many to be too high. Some say the limits should be lower, more in the range of 10 ppt or 1 ppt.

More information is available from fact sheets developed by the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) which can be accessed at

We thank Karla for her insight on this subject and thank NEOCHMM member Nate Pietras from Eurofins TestAmerica for setting up this meeting and providing the food and beverages to the attendees.