Testing Water For PFAS & PCB Contamination
PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemical hazards that almost every American has the potential to be exposed to via consumer products, persistence in the environment, and more. The waste generated from cleaning up environmental contamination, known as remediation waste, often contains PCBs and PFAS, which are harmful to humans.
Luckily, as people encounter PCBs and PFAS in the world, the most common routes of exposure and harmful health effects are becoming better understood while testing methods and regulations toward reducing exposure become more reliable. To get a better understanding of the effects of PCBs and PFAs, let’s take a closer look at what they are and how to test for them.
What Are PFAS?
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that are often found in fire-fighting foams, industrial work centers, landfills, and wastewater treatment centers. PFAS were initially developed in the 1930s for the primary purpose of creating nonstick and waterproof coatings. Due to the historical demand for the production of PFAS, there are currently more than “3,000 synthetic chemicals” now classified as PFAS.
For PFAS, such exposure may include contaminated soil, contaminated drinking water, eating fish sourced from contaminated water, and any food packaged in materials that contain PFAS. Due to this exposure, PFAS have been found to cause adverse health outcomes in humans. These outcomes include negative effects on reproductive health, liver and kidney damage, and immunological effects.
In light of how hazardous PFAS can be, in January of 2021 the EPA delivered the latest results on the official PFAS action plan. Substantial progress has been made since the creation of this initiative and the EPA has promised that they will continue to build on this research.
What Are PCBs?
PCBs are man-made chemicals with a history of being used as lubricants, plasticizers, and heat-transfer fluids for electrical devices and machinery due to their high resistance and tolerance to pressure and heat. PCB remediation waste is waste that contains PCBs, usually from a spill, release, or other unsanctioned disposal of PCBs.
Polychlorinated biphenyls were once included for hundreds of industrial/commercial applications and can still be found contaminating soil, gravel, concrete, and buildings. Due to their harmful effects on people’s health, the use of PCBs was banned in 1979, but many pre-1979 products that contain the chemicals are still used today.
Both the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency classify PCBs as a likely carcinogen. Long-term PCB research in humans has found heightened rates of a variety of different cancers, including melanomas, liver cancer, gallbladder cancer, gastrointestinal tract cancer, brain cancer, and more. It’s hard to overstate how risky exposure to PCBs through remediation waste can be. Luckily, with improved testing methods, it’s becoming increasingly possible to mitigate and even prevent unnecessary exposure to PCBs and PFAS.
Testing Water For PFAS & PCB Contamination
At Suburban Testing Labs, we can help companies run evaluations for drinking water and wastewater PFAS contamination by providing analytical testing for these contaminants. All types of industries trust our expertise for water sampling and analysis, including for engineering companies, contract operators, consulting firms, and others. Beyond analysis, we can also provide all of the supporting services you may need for lab testing, such as automatic sample collection.
What’s more, some water treatment technologies have been found to reduce PFAS from drinking water, especially Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which are the most studied of all PFAS. Those technologies include activated carbon adsorption, ion exchange resins, and high-pressure membranes. These technologies can be utilized in drinking water treatment facilities, in water systems in hospitals or individual buildings, or even in homes at the point-of-entry, where water enters the home, or the point-of-use, such as in a kitchen sink or a shower.
Our Sampling Services
Our experienced field scientists offer a wide range of field sampling services, but if you prefer to do the sampling, we can help you save you time and money with our pre-filled supply of custody forms and labels, which we give you at no extra cost.
Our field services department utilizes cutting-edge technology and equipment for a job well done, including monitoring well sampling equipment. Field analysis capabilities include, but are not limited to, pH, chlorine, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, flow rate, and temperature. We maintain high levels of standards for calibration and equipment maintenance to ensure the most accurate results possible.
We are a NELAP Accredited environmental testing lab that operates in a 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in Reading, PA. Founded in 1963, we are a family-owned, independent lab dedicated to understanding the needs of our clients. Our experienced evaluation team is ready to learn how we can be your partner for success.
To learn more about PFAS and PCBs testing, or to get a quotation or proposal, feel free to email our team of experts for information on how we can be your partner for success. For more specific information on our sampling procedures or to address any other questions or concerns you may have don’t hesitate to contact us online or by phone!
Suburban Testing Labs is a NELAP Accredited environmental testing lab that operates in a 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art facility in Reading, PA. Founded in 1963, we are a family owned an operated, independent lab that understand the needs of our clients.
We offer high quality analytical data at fast turnaround times and first class customer service.
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