Jun 05, 2020

Chemicals in New Jersey Soil Linked to PFAS

A team of scientists recently identified group of chemical compounds, which are likely used as a substitutes for PFAS in soil samples taken in New Jersey.

New Jersey

A team of scientists reported that they have found a recently identified group of chemical compounds, which are likely used as a substitutes for per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS), in soil samples taken across New Jersey.

The new study was led by John Washington, an EPA research chemist and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Georgia’s geology department, scientists labeled the newly identified chemicals as chloro-perfluoro-polyether-carboxylate compounds, or ClPFPECAs.

The new compounds are toxic to humans or dangerous to the environment, reported the new study.

The research suggests the source of the new compounds was Solvay Specialty Polymers USA in West Deptford, Gloucester County, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2019, New Jersey ordered Solvay and four other companies to pay for cleaning up chemicals used at their sites, those of which contaminated drinking water.

The team evaluated soil samples from across the state and found 10 different ClPFPECA. Three of which were identified in all samples and in a sample from a site more than 280 miles away, according to the study. To researchers, this suggested that the ClPFPECAs were released into the atmosphere. To verify this, the team used weather data recorded near the Philadelphia International Airport and researchers collected soil along the downwind path from the plants.

The research team analyzed existing samples around a Solvay plant in Italy and found similar ClPFPECAs, reported the study. The company has locations in 61 countries.

The state Department of Environmental Protection just recently adopted the most stringent drinking water standards in the country for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The research was paid for by the EPA and New Jersey DEP, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Since the new compounds are considered proprietary, little is known about them.

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