NGA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI Center) are hosting two free virtual sessions examining Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The first meeting was held on Thursday, June 3rd and the second will be held June 10th from 2 – 4 p.m. ET. The two virtual events explore the science and policies to protect human health and water quality from PFAS.


Health Impacts & How Scientific Evidence Informs Federal Policies

Day 1 – Thursday, June 3rd

Day 1 Objectives:

  • Introduce the issues surrounding PFAS and federal efforts to address PFAS concerns to date;
  • Provide an overview of the scientific evidence related to human health impacts from PFAS and implications for public health systems;
  • Learn about federal agency efforts around PFAS, including the scientific evidence informing agency decision-making; and
  • Connect decision-makers with scientific experts, as well as other colleagues addressing these issues, who can help inform how to incorporate scientific information into their decision- making.

Welcome, Background, Goals, Agenda Review and Protocols

  • Welcome – Bevin Buchheister and Jessica Rackley, National Governors Association, and Rebecca Aicher, EPI Center, AAAS
  • Agenda Review and Protocols – Maya Breitburg-Smith, Senior Mediator, RESOLVE

Session 1: Introduction to PFAS in Drinking Water and Human Health Impacts

  • High level overview of PFAS, including PFOA, PFOS, and GenX: what they are? why are they a concern?
  • High level overview of federal and state efforts to address PFAS concerns to-date
  • Why should governor’s offices/state agencies care about this issue
  • Provide an overview of the scientific evidence related to human health impacts from PFAS in drinking water, including links to cancer, cholesterol, thyroid, and immune systems, as well as the potential impact on COVID-19 and Flu vaccines, and implications for public health systems
  • Presentations
    • Tom Bruton, Senior Scientist, Green Science Policy Institute | Presentation
    • Jamie DeWitt, Associate Professor, East Carolina University
    • Rachel Rogers, Environmental Health Scientist, CDC/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
    • Gretta Goldenman, Milieu | Presentation

Session 2: How Science Informs EPA Policies for PFAS in Drinking Water

  • Identify how scientific evidence informs federal drinking water policy, such as risk assessments and drinking water standards
  • Explore strategies for incorporating evolving scientific evidence into regulations
  • Presentation
    • Eric Burneson, P.E., Director of Standards and Risk Management Division, Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • Ryan Albert, Chief of the Standards and Risk Reduction Branch, Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    • Alex Lan, Team Lead for the PFAS Regulatory Development Team, Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Closing

  • Survey request
  • Closing remarks

Science Informing Policy – How States and Communities are Using Science to Address PFAS

Day 2 – Thursday, June 10th from 2:00 – 4:00 pm ET

Day 2 Objectives:

  • Learn about the different ways states are responding to PFAS contamination;
  • Discuss the ways states are using scientific evidence to inform PFAS risk assessments, standards, guidelines, and policies;
  • Identify opportunities and challenges communities and vulnerable populations are facing based on disproportionate impacts from drinking water contamination;
  • Explore issues associated with biosolids, destruction and disposal, and pollution prevention; and
  • Connect decision-makers with scientific experts, as well as other colleagues addressing these issues, who can help inform how to incorporate scientific information into their decision- making.

Welcome & Introductions – NGA, AAAS, and RESOLVE (2:00 – 2:10pm ET)

  • Welcome – Bevin Buchheister and Jessica Rackley, National Governors Association, and Rebecca Aicher, EPI Center, AAAS
  • Agenda Review and Protocols – Maya Breitburg-Smith, Senior Mediator, RESOLVE

Session 1: How are states throughout the U.S. responding to PFAS contamination? (2:10 – 2:50pm ET)

  • Identify ways scientific evidence can help protect communities from PFAS, including through risk assessments, standards, guidelines, and policies;
  • Provide policymakers with an understanding of how the federal government and states adopt different numeric standards to protect human health;
  • Explore strategies for incorporating evolving scientific evidence into regulations; and
  • Discuss state efforts to identify known sources of PFAS.
  • State Policy Perspective (30 minutes)
    • Gloria Post, Research Scientist, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
    • Jonathan Ali, Toxicologist, Environmental Health Program, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
    • Barbara Morrissey, Toxicologist, Washington State Department of Health
  • Facilitated discussion (10 minutes)

Session 2: How does PFAS in drinking water impact communities and environmental justice issues? (2:50 – 3:20pm ET)

  • Discuss when and why PFAS exposure is of concern to communities;
  • Discuss how scientific evidence can help communities address PFAS contamination in drinking water:
  • Share how communities have assessed sources and the parties responsible for mitigating exposure;
  • Identify options for reducing or eliminating risks posed by these substances as well as treatment options; and
  • Discuss federal and state efforts to prioritize cleanup, address private wells and help EJ Communities to test for PFAS and fund treatment and cleanup.

Session 3: Facilitated Small Group Breakout Discussions (3:20 – 3:50pm ET)

For each of the topics below, breakout groups will share information about the different ways states are considering and addressing these issues, including where states have found success and made progress, where there have been challenges, and what additional information or science is needed to support action. Topics include:

  • Biosolids
  • Destruction and Disposal
  • Pollution Prevention

Preventing & Addressing PFAS Next Steps & Final Wrap-Up (3:50 – 4:00pm ET)

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