June 16, 2020 - PFAS

Toxics Use Reduction Institute Science Advisory Board Meeting Minutes

June 16, 2020

Virtual Zoom Meeting

12:30 PM


Members Present: Robin Dodson (Vice Chair), Hilary Hackbart, Wendy Heiger-Bernays, Christy Foran, Christine Rioux, Heather Lynch, Denise Kmetzo, Rich Gurney

Members not present: Amy Cannon, Ken Weinberg, Dave Williams

Program staff present: Liz Harriman (TURI), Heather Tenney (TURI), Hayley Byra (TURI), Pam Eliason (TURI), Rachel Massey (TURI), John Raschko (OTA), Hardiesse Dicka-Bessonneau (MassDEP), Tiffany Skogstrom (OTA), Tsedash Zewdie (MassDEP)

Others present: Katherine Robertson (MCTA), Steve Korzeniowski (Fluorocouncil/ACC), Carol Holahan (Foley Hoag ACC), Trisha McCarthy (Coyne PC for ACC), Erin Dickinson (ACC), Margaret Gorman (ACC), Harry Hechehouche (ACC), Kuper Jones (ACC), Erin DeSantis (ACC), Jay West (ACC), James Dunbar (MCTA via O’Neill and Associates), Maria Pignataro (3M), Ruthann Rudel (Silent Spring Institute), Kathryn Rodgers (Silent Spring Institute), Tom Webster (Boston University), Jennifer Schlezinger (Boston University)


Welcome & Introductions

Each name or phone number showing on Zoom was called out and all attendees introduced themselves and their association. Visitors were asked to then mute and use the chat function thereafter.


TURA Program Updates

Updates were limited due to the short time between meetings. A representative from DEP updated that they were in the process of implementing the MCP for PFAS and that DEP is still reviewing public comments on the proposed 20 ppt drinking water standard for 6 PFAS substances.  Additionally, a statewide public drinking water monitoring program for the six PFAS compounds is ongoing.


Approve May Minutes

A board member asked for an edit to be made to the last bullet under TURA Updates to indicate the new substances that were mentioned are reportable under TRI. Another edit was requested to clarify the sentence on page 5, “The board member specifically mentioned non-highlighted compounds on the list, structures on spreadsheet row numbers 3507-3526 straight chained C5,6,7,8,9 perfluorinated hydrocarbons”.

A motion was made to approve the May minutes with the two edits that were identified. The minutes were unanimously approved (with 7 members present at time of the vote).

PFAS: Final Category Discussions

Our work on PFAS began in the fall of 2016. Since then we have reviewed 12 individual PFAS and made recommendations to list 11 of them. We also looked at many other resources including the OECD list of 4700+ PFAS. During our last several meetings the SAB noted that it was no longer practical to consider individual PFAS given the diminishing amount of information available for further PFAS and the number of PFAS in existence. The Board noted that similar hazards would be expected in other PFAAs in the group. The Board also reviewed degradation and transformation of a range of PFAA precursors, building on the presentation in January of 2018 by the Fluorocouncil.

At the SAB meeting in January, a group of PFAAs and Precursors as defined by OECD, were discussed. Some board members felt that ‘PFAAs and Precursors’ wasn’t comprehensive enough (i.e. there are additional PFAS that this group would not encompass) and some members felt that ‘PFAAs and Precursors’ was too broad (i.e. perhaps there are PFAS that are safer than others).

In addition, at our January meeting, other groups known to be doing work on the grouping of PFAS were identified. An OECD working group and SETAC were specifically identified. We have continued to be in contact with these groups and no new publications are available at this time. Additionally, other regulatory programs have developed regulations regarding contaminated drinking water supplies and sites. Addition of a substance to the TURA reporting list requires reporting, developing a TUR plan to assess and reduce toxics use, and paying TURA fees. TURA makes decisions on hazard versus risk.

At our last meeting, in May, the group discussed more specifically what is and is not included under ‘OECD PFAS and Precursors’. There was general agreement about using a definitional approach in order to capture new chemicals not identified by OECD. Since the last meeting the document ‘Options for PFAS definitions’ was developed to further define what is and is not included under the OECD definition.

Options for PFAS Definitions:

A TURA representative walked through the Options for PFAS definitions and Example Structures from each OECD Category documents. OECD has identified some fluoropolymers as precursors and some fluoropolymers are not identified as precursors. It was noted that some fluoropolymers are more likely to break down faster than others.

A board member commented on page 5 of the Degradation/Transformation PowerPoint stating that they found evidence that the metabolite in the reaction will break down. A representative of ACC commented that you cannot make the assumption that everything with a carbon and hydrogen can break down.  

A board member that joined the meeting late asked if the board discussed the availability of monomers in the production and use of the polymers. A board member noted that in addition to creation of PFAAs via degradation, leftover monomer may be present in polymers.

A representative of ACC provided input on the way some of the polymers are described in OECD categories. Other groups are asking similar questions and trying to determine if there is a risk of exposure to residual monomer in polymers.

A board member shared their personal experience with polymer separation in a laboratory setting and that they are worried about leaching and contact dermatitis from exposure to monomers. Separation techniques are difficult and very important in making sure polymers are free from monomers as residual monomers left in product can result in unintended consequences.  A board member asked if the residual monomers would be captured in our definition.  It was noted that monomers were typically ultra-short chain and not included.

The board discussed having a definition versus a list, or having a definition and a list available as guidance. A definition will continue to be inclusive and a list will need to be frequently updated.

A TURA representative explained that for the C1-C4 listing we used a definition, but still provided a list to filers. That is how we bridge that gap, we provide a list and update if substances need to be added as they fit the definition.

A board member stated that the release of materials to the environment is a big concern sparking conversation around incineration again. There is limited information on incineration; if they are running at the optimal temperatures (1100˚C), do you get mineralization or reformed compounds? It was noted that municipal waste incinerators are not operated at that high temperature, and often do not run at ideal temperatures.

A representative of ACC explained that there is a new very broad program that is looking at AFFF and all kinds of fluorinated compounds. They are going to be asking incinerators to measure their compounds to ensure they are not emitting unintended substances. A mixed waste stream makes it difficult to calculate mass balance.

At this point we took a moment to make sure ‘chat’ comments were acknowledged and discussed.

A visitor stated, regarding fluoropolymers, that anything that is misused has a potential to cause issues, which is why the industry provides guidance on maximum operating temperatures and conditions, and health and safety for workers (See the Plastics Industry Association Guide to Safe Handling of Fluoropolymer Resins 5th ed).

A board member was concerned that the information required to delist be commensurate with what is required to list. Generally speaking, the petitioner would need to have a robust data set for the particular hazard that it was listed it for. TURA is unique in that it recognizes the hazards faced by workers, the environment, and the public. Part of that is recognizing that misuse and spills do occur. Listing under TURA encourages companies to understand the hazard of the substances they use, and requires them to go through a process to evaluate TUR options.  This can increase knowledge about toxics. It does not ban substances.

A visitor noted they would encourage listing. PFAS is a very complicated class and new ones are identified frequently. They have already done a lot of damage. Listing would facilitate collecting data on these compounds and it would be helpful for companies to be knowledgeable about compounds they are using and may even motivate them to look for alternatives.

A visitor expressed concerns for small companies and the burden they will bear. They asked if these chemicals are used in quantities that would be reportable. A TURA representative stated that is a legitimate question, but more of a policy one, and also that we have no data to rely on, as the substances are largely unregulated.

A representative of ACC stated that the list of 4700 is likely much bigger than what is currently used in commerce. Some PFAS on the list are legacy chemicals and some we do not know if they were ever commercially manufactured. Also, there are no analytical methods to measure for many individual substances. A more targeted list of what is in commerce is needed.

At this point we paused for a 5 minute break at 2:35 and returned at 2:40

Heather began sharing her screen:

Starting with definition of PFAS:

  • PFASs that contain a perfluoroalkyl moiety with three or more carbons (i.e. –CnF2n–, n ≥ 3; or CF3-CnF2n-, n≥2) or a perfluoroalkylether moiety with two or more carbons (i.e. –CnF2nOCmF2m−, n and m ≥ 1). 
  • Some members expressed little concern about excluding ultra-short chains, since they have not done a deep hazard review. Without that info it would be premature to include them. However, other members still had concerns about persistence and suggested we review them in the future.
  • Persistence, mobility and bioaccumulation/phytoaccumulation were noted as concerns for the PFAS class; ADONA and PFPA had insufficient bioaccumulation data.
  • It was suggested to keep the above definition and then look at TFA and other ultra-short chains in the future.
  • This list is very comprehensive with the exception of ultra-short chains and ethers that fall through the cracks (TURI to check ethers to see if the definition needs to be modified to include  all of them).The above definition would include all OECD database substances except 2 substances.
  •  The above definition includes three sets of “non precursors” (see handout).
  • A member noted they would like to exclude non-precursors. Other members noted they would like the non-precursors included.
  • A representative of ACC noted that the Buck et al 2012 paper creates an exception from their definition for Montreal protocol chemicals (one of the “non-precursor” sets) because they were already regulated.
  • 11 PFAS previously recommended by the board would be folded into a category.

Next Meeting

As the meeting end time was reached before a decision was made, it was suggested that the SAB adjourn and have another meeting in the next week or two to wrap up consideration of PFAS. Consensus among the board was that they would like to have another shorter and focused meeting with no new meeting materials.


All handout documents listed below were provided electronically to all attendees prior to the meeting.

  • Draft May meeting minutes
  • OECD spreadsheet with EPA information
  • Degradation/Transformation of PFAS PowerPoint
  • Category Considerations
  • Options for PFAS Category Definitions
  • Example Structures from each OECD Subcategory
  • SAB remote meeting ground rules

Chat Box Conversation

From Visitor to Everyone: Apologies all. This is Visitor from American Chemistry Council. I have technical issues with my computer. Thank you for hosting this meeting.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Program updates:

From Visitor to Everyone: I'm having a very difficult time hearing the speaker

From TURA Representative to Everyone: MCP in process of implementing 20 ppt standard. OW program still reviewing public comments on the doc. statewide public water monitoring going on with help of UMass. Nothing from OTA or TURI. Approving May meeting minutes. A few comments and clarifications made. Unanimous approval with minor edits. Discussing PFAS now. More discussion about PFAS category definitions.

From Visitor to Everyone: The fact that a structure has a C-H bond does not mean it will degrade. See my previous comment. And you know I do not agree with Z. Wang.

From Visitor to Everyone: Did Visitor have a prior comment that's not displaying? If so can you please display?

From TURA Representative to Everyone: I believe he was referring to the C-H bond comment

From Visitor to Everyone: Take a look at Henry et al paper

From Visitor to Everyone: For some reason, my screen is not identifying the speaker when Heather is sharing the screen. Is this just mine?

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Zoom behaves differently for different computers. I have two zoom screens at any one time ... one is the speaker or shared screen. The other is the group and controls. Now looking at the excel spreadsheet and structure sheet

From Visitor to Everyone: Is there a distinction between whether a polymer is a precursor (could degrade) vs a source (could be contaminated or degrade)?

From Visitor to Everyone: I think we need to consider the entire lifecycle of these polymers to understand their effects on health and the environment not just use. For example, there is very substantial evidence for release during production, e.g . PFOA and its replacements. On a lifecycle basis I think it is reasonable to list all of these polymers.

From Visitor to Everyone: Delisting also doesn't have to be done one chemical at a time, but as information becomes available subgroups could be delisted if appropriate

From Visitor to Everyone: American Chemistry Council, sorry no mic.

From Visitor to Everyone: Most chemicals like fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers have suitable use temperatures under normal conditions of use. And use temperature not to exceed. It is well documented that these FP compounds do thermally break down under conditions exceeding normal foreseeable use maximum continuous temperature

From Visitor to Everyone: Are there measurements at municipal solid waste incinerators which typically run at lower temperature, e.g .. BSOC/ Sewage sludge incinerators?

From Visitor to Everyone: If the fail safe is delis ting, I would urge a conversation on the detisting process and upon what basis delisting decisions would be made. In my five-plus years with MCTA there has been a single discussion on delisting a chemistry delisted by CERCLA It was not delisted.

From Visitor to Everyone: Can you please provide TURA statute citation that allows listing of over 10 chemistries per year? I understand the group includes over 4000.

From Visitor to Everyone: TURA limits the Administrative Council's authority to list 10 substances per any calendar year. MGL 21I(9Xc}.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: A category counts as a substance in this instance.

From Visitor to Everyone: I have a comment related to evidence for delisting

From Visitor to Everyone: Can you please provide that citation in the statute?

From Visitor to Everyone: Heather-can you provide authority for that?

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Section 9: Toxic or hazardous substance list Section 9. The toxic or hazardous substance list shall consist of:-

(A) As of January 1, 1990, and thereafter the chemicals identified on the Toxic Chemical List established pursuant to Section 313 of EPCRA. Each year the council shall adjust the toxic or hazardous substance list to add or delete substances consistent with changes in said toxic chemical list.

(B} The substances identified on the list pursuant to sections 10 1(14} and 102 of CERCLA shall be induded in the toxic or hazardous substance list until August 1, 2008. On or before August 1. 2007, the institute and the board shall make recommendations to the council as to what substances listed pursuant to said sections 101 (14) and 102 of CERCLA shall be retained on the toxic or hazardous substance list. On or before August 1, 2008, the council shall take action on the recommendations of the institute and the board to retain or delete substances list ed pursuant to said sections 101(14) and 102 of CERCLA f

From TURA Representative to Everyone: The above is from the TURA statute, Chapter 211

https:f/malegislature.gov/laws{GeneraILaws/Part l (Title I I/Chapter 211)

{Q Notwithstanding subparagraphs (A} and (B}, the council may add or delete additional substances from the toxic or hazardous substance list. Except for those substances covered under subsection)

{B). no more than 10 substances may be added for any 1 calendar year and no more than 10 substances may be deleted for any 1 calendar year. The institute and the board shall provide recommendations proposing additions or deletions. A proposed change in the toxic or hazardous substance list shall not take effect until the calendar year immediately following the year in which the council makes the change. Substances added or deleted by the council shalt not be affected by subparagraphs (A) and {B). The designation of higher and lower hazard substances pursuant to subparagraph {D) shall not be affected by this subparagraph. (sorry, the chat cut it short)

From Visitor to Everyone: I am not sure how companies will be able to ID and track 4CX>O-plus chemicals.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: OTA would be happy to help your smaller members or any company attempt to identify / track PFAS or any chemical of concern now or in the future. We are here to help. We know it is a huge issue.

From Visitor to Everyone: Is it hard for companies to figure out if they are using highly fluorinated chemicals? And can't companies just report based on what they are buying? So if they are buying XX pounds of PFAS #392 they can just report that. I don’t understand the concern about burden created by a long list. We should limit speculation in this forum.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Taking a break - restart at 2:40

From TURA Representative to Everyone: And away we go! Working towards reaching agreement....

From Visitor to Everyone: Yes, short chains can be extremely persistent. I think it is reasonable to assume that the parent PFAS compounds or their breakdown products are very persistent

From Visitor to Everyone: During the break. I spoke with a consultant who said this would be a nightmare. I was told that chemistries are only listed on the MSDS if they are above 1% for a non-carcinogen or .1% for a carcinogen.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Thank you. That is true, and something the advisory committee would consider and discuss once the SAB makes a recommendation

From Visitor to Everyone: They do not have to be very bioaccumulative to be problematic. P/M (or even P) can be sufficient to be potentially problematic. There is substantial discussion about this in the literature. It is also discussion in EU from a reg perspective.

From Visitor to Everyone: PFBA is not being used as a substitute

From Visitor to Everyone: Buck et al does not include Montreal Protocol compounds or aromatics

From Visitor to Everyone: Is the information that was just mentioned in the "google search" provided to the full board and will this be provided to all stakeholders to review in advance of the next meeting?

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Thank you Margaret. We’ll ask Rich to share that.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: I checked the OECD list, and it includes all 172 compounds that EPA made TRI reportable.

From Visitor to Everyone: Buck etal did not include refrigerants, blowing agents and compounds governed under the Montreal protocol The jury is out that P- sufficient is sufficient and M is not yet defined.

From Board Member to Everyone: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27351319/

From Visitor to Everyone: There are proposed M definitions in Germany

From Visitor to Everyone: So would this definition include polymers? Would it include aromatics?

From Visitor to Everyone: Sure proposed is not accepted and being debated.

From Visitor to Everyone: Are you allowing public comment before the vote?

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Is any consideration going to be given to the grouping strategies described in the 2020 Cousins paper?

From Visitor to Everyone: I thought the meeting ground rules were that you would take public comment before any vote was taken.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: Heather is trying to figure out if they are going to have a motion and vote

From Visitor to Everyone: Thank you.

From TURA Representative to Everyone: We will schedule a follow up meeting that will be focused on final comment for the definition proposed. All are encouraged to come prepared with their comment or concerns so that it can be discussed and public comment can be allowed. Stay tuned for scheduling requests.