You may have seen in the local news lately that many cities and water agencies are facing PFOA and PFOS in their water system. Perflorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are organic chemicals. They are part of a larger group of chemicals that are widely used in the United States in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper packaging for food, cookware products, and other materials including those designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant or non-stick. They are also used in fire-retarding foam.
People are generally exposed to PFOA and PFOS through food, food packaging, house dust, and drinking water. Since these chemicals are so widespread in our consumer products, scientists have found PFOA and PFOS in nearly all people tested.
Testing for these chemicals in water started in 2013 when all California cities were required to test. The State Water Resources Board utilized the 2013 test results as a benchmark to additional testing required earlier this year. The results from that testing found that Paramount’s water is “Non-Detect” of PFOS/PFOA. Therefore no additional testing is required. “Non-Detect” means Paramount water meets minimum reporting levels required by the State Board.
The State Board recently changed its minimum reporting levels for these chemicals from 14 parts per trillion (ppt) to 5.1 ppt for PFOA and from 13 ppt to 6.5 ppt for PFOS. For reference, one part per trillion is the equivalent of one drop in 20 olympic size swimming pools or one drop in 13.2 million gallons of water.
Due to the change in minimum reporting levels, some cities are now receiving notification for additional monitoring. Paramount’s water still meets minimum reporting levels and is not required to conduct additional testing at this time. However, the City is choosing to take a proactive approach and will voluntarily test water wells for PFAS/PFOA. The City has contacted a State-certified test lab and anticipates having them in Paramount sometime in January. Due to high demand for testing, test result delivery is taking approximately two to three months once the samples have been taken.
We will continue to monitor state requirements and keep residents informed with any new information.