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OBG discusses emerging contaminants with Michigan Manufacturers Association PFAS Workgroup

Jeff Ramey

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been used in a wide range of industrial processes and in commercial and consumer products for several decades. Many of these compounds are also persistent, and PFAS are now ubiquitous in the environment for these reasons. Toxicological studies suggest that exposure to some PFAS can lead to adverse health effects, and states across the U.S. are taking steps to address this emerging issue.

OBG recently joined the Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) to discuss the state of the practice for the analytical testing of PFAS by commercial and non-commercial laboratories. The panel discussion was held on November 13, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan for members of MMA’s Environmental Policy Committee and PFAS Workgroup.

Jeff Ramey, a managing chemist on OBG’s emerging contaminants team, moderated a panel discussion of four other analytical chemists and leading experts in the emerging contaminants field. This included Karla Buechler of TestAmerica, Maya Murshak of Merit Laboratories, David Blye of Environmental Standards, and Matthew Geiger of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

Together, the panel discussed the current and developing PFAS analytical methods, including U.S. EPA Method 537, ASTM D7979, and draft SW-846 Methods 8327 and 8328. The panel discussed method modifications that, when using the “best science available,” would provide better data with lower detection limits, expanded compound lists, analysis of non-drinking water matrices, and improved data quality with isotopic dilution.

MMA members also learned of the improvements in sampling and laboratory techniques that have resulted in the decreased rate at which the laboratories observe method blank, field blank, and equipment blank contamination. Although U.S. EPA Method 537 is currently the only approved method, the panel assured members that reliable, reproduceable, and defensible data can be generated now using current field and laboratory methods.

About Jeff Ramey: Jeff has 14 years of experience as an analytical chemist in the environmental industry. He is a managing chemist and a manager of project development on the company’s emerging contaminants team. Jeff can be contacted at Jeff.Ramey@obg.com.

Read more Insights on emerging contaminants:

Michigan initiates PFAS investigations for industrial pretreatment programs

PFAS regulations develop for Michigan drinking water and fish consumption

OBG discusses emerging contaminants with Illinois Chamber of Commerce

OBG discusses PFAS in Wisconsin