The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an updated toxicity assessment for perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), a member of a larger group of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The PFBS assessment is part of EPA’s commitment to restore scientific integrity to all of the agency’s actions and increase the amount of research and information available to the public on PFAS chemicals.
“This PFBS assessment reflects the best available science, involved extensive federal, state, and public engagement, and is critical to EPA efforts to help communities impacted by PFAS,” said senior career scientist Dr. Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development and the agency’s Science Advisor. “The assessment posted today fixes the errors in the version issued earlier this year, was developed by EPA career scientists, and upholds the values of scientific integrity. I’m proud to release such an important assessment that will help EPA and communities take action to address PFAS and protect public health.”
EPA, federal agencies, states, tribes, and local communities can use the PFBS toxicity assessment, along with specific exposure and other relevant information, to determine if and when it is necessary to take action to address potential health risks associated with human exposures to PFBS under appropriate regulations and statutes.
The assessment released today has gone through all appropriate reviews, includes input EPA received from external peer review, upholds the tenants of scientific integrity, was authored by expert career scientists in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, and has not been compromised by political staff – these were all issues with a version of the assessment that was posted during the previous administration.
For more information on PFAS: www.epa.gov/pfas.
For more information on the updated PFBS toxicity assessment: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/learn-about-human-health-toxicity-assessment-pfbs.
PFAS are synthetic chemicals used in a wide range of products because of their ability to repel water, grease, and oil. PFBS has been used as a replacement chemical for PFOS. PFOS is a chemical that was voluntarily phased out by the primary U.S. manufacturer by 2002. PFBS has been identified in environmental media and consumer products, including surface water, wastewater, drinking water, dust, carpeting and carpet cleaners, and floor wax. The assessment is part of EPA’s efforts to increase the amount of research and information that is publicly available on chemicals in the PFAS family.
A toxicity assessment is a written summary of the potential health effects associated with a chemical and identifies the dose levels at which those health effects may occur in order to calculate toxicity values. Toxicity is only one piece of information that public officials consider when determining whether there is a risk to public health. Other factors, such as exposure, must also be considered. Toxicity information, when combined with specific information on potential exposures could be used by EPA Programs/Regions, and state, tribal, and local partners to help characterize the public health risks of this chemical, which completes the human health risk assessment process. Public officials can then work to identify what actions are appropriate to address these potential public health risks. When considering actions to address risks, officials weigh and integrate scientific information, statutory and other legal considerations, risk management options, potential health impacts, cost/benefit analyses, economic and social factors, and other considerations.