3M supports science-based regulation that is based on the best available science and established processes, including for PFAS.
This can help provide needed certainty for manufacturers and companies who rely on PFAS in critical industries, like medical devices and aerospace, while helping people better understand how and why PFAS are regulated.
Effective public policy that supports strong and healthy communities, access to critical products and economic competitiveness must be informed by a broad range of factors. These include:
Science is core to 3M’s mission of improving every life. It also informs our public policy and regulatory engagement on PFAS. While the science behind PFAS can be complex and continues to evolve, science must be at the forefront of providing answers and solutions. Things to consider include:
Our scientific knowledge of PFAS chemistries has and continues to evolve. 3M is committed to working collaboratively with communities to answer questions about current and past PFAS use and determine a path forward.
PFAS are used by a wide variety of critical global industries to make products people rely on every day. It is important to consider many viewpoints and work together to craft policies that reflect these broad uses in modern products. Factors to consider include:
3M regularly provides information about PFAS regulatory topics and submits comments as we seek to engage with local, national and international bodies.
To learn more about specific comment submissions, please contact us.
In the United States, there are currently no federal drinking water regulatory limits for PFAS compounds. The U.S. EPA is in the process of setting federal drinking water regulatory limits for PFOA and PFOS. What is currently in place is a federal, non-enforceable drinking water lifetime advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS (combined), which was established under the Obama Administration in 2016. According to EPA, this LHA provides a significant margin of protection for people over an entire lifetime of drinking water from a single source.
In the absence of federal regulatory limits, some states have set or have begun the process of setting their own limits based upon varying factors. Though approaches and assumptions vary, they are typically based on animal studies, which use theoretical modeling to extrapolate a proposed limit.
3M supports establishing science-based drinking water limits for PFAS like PFOS and PFOA under the Safe Drinking Water Act, which could help prevent the confusion that a state-by-state patchwork of limits could create. These limits should be based on rigorous science and follow established rulemaking processes.
Existing national drinking water advisory levels vary globally. For instance, Canada advises levels at 600 ppt and 200 ppt for PFOS and PFOA, respectively. Australia’s levels are 70 ppt and 560 ppt, and the United Kingdom recommends 300 ppt and 1,000 ppt for PFOS and PFOA. The levels are meant to consider a lifetime of drinking water consumption, and they are designed to provide a large margin of protection.
3M is committed to working with the U.S. EPA, state regulatory agencies, community groups and elected officials to help collaboratively share our knowledge and address this issue.
PFAS stands for a broad group of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. The group contains several categories and classes of durable chemicals and materials with properties that included oil, water, temperature, chemical and fire resistance, as well as electrical insulating properties.
Processes to commercially produce PFAS were first developed in the 1940s. In the 1950s, 3M began manufacturing PFOA and PFOS, two types of PFAS, for product applications because of their ability to repel water, protect surfaces, resist heat and many other useful properties.
While some research has indicated possible associations with certain biomarkers or health outcomes in people for PFOA and PFOS, results across studies examining these endpoints have found either inconsistent or conflicting observations and do not show causation. 3M and other leading experts around the world continue to research PFAS to look for potential health issues.