Low levels of PFOS detected in Kipapa Acres water system

Posted on Dec 19, 2022 in Newsroom

HONOLULU – Trace levels of the chemical Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) were recently detected in water samples collected at the Kipapa Acres C.P.R. water system. PFOS levels detected at KA are very small but are above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new, interim health advisory levels potentially posing a health risk over a lifetime of consumption.

PFOS is a type of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substance (PFAS) chemicals that are common drinking water and environmental contaminants. In June 2022, the EPA proposed a new interim health advisory level for PFOS of 0.00002 micrograms per liter (ug/L). This is much lower than the prior EPA health advisory for PFOS, which was 0.070 ug/L. The new, interim advisory level has been set to avoid human health risks based on a lifetime of consuming water containing that level of contaminant and is undergoing further evaluation. The PFOS level confirmed at KA ranged from 0.0026 ug/L to 0.0034 ug/L which are above the new EPA interim health advisory levels.

“As we learn more about PFAS and possible risk to health, it remains a priority to ensure that the public is aware of these contaminants in drinking water,” said Dr. Diana Felton, State Toxicologist. “While these detections do not pose an acute risk to public health, we continue to work with EPA and other stakeholders to reduce PFAS exposures and establish enforceable PFAS limits that protect public health.”

The trace levels of these chemicals in the Kipapa Acres system are small and do not pose an acute public health threat. However, long-term consumption of drinking water with PFOS could pose health risks.  While no action is necessary for users at this time, those concerned may use a home filtration option to reduce PFAS. Click here for an EPA article describing technologies for reducing PFAS in drinking water. Filters should be NSF certified for removing PFAS. A list of NSF certified filters can be found here.

According to the EPA, PFAS are fluorinated organic chemicals that have been used extensively in consumer products such as carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials (e.g., cookware) designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant, or non-stick. They are also a component of fire-fighting foam and have many industrial uses. For general information on PFAS, please see https://www.epa.gov/pfas

The Kipapa Acres water system serves approximately 50 individuals and is located near Waipio. The system continues to be in full compliance with all federal and state standards for drinking water. The system is looking to transition to Honolulu Board of Water Supply Water by 2024.

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