May 10, 2024

PFAS fixes will be big business

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HERE IN New Hampshire, we’ve been inundated with stories about PFAS contamination at various locations across the state over the years. To say it’s concerning would be an understatement.

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PFAS are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. Fluoropolymer coatings can be in a variety of products, including clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces, and the insulation of electrical wire. It’s also found in firefighting foam.

The issue with PFAS is that it’s known as a forever chemical and doesn’t break down naturally in the environment. It ends up in soil, animals, drinking water and yes, eventually in our bodies. As a matter of fact, the CDC estimates that 97% of the U.S population has PFAS in their bodies.

Even worse, PFAS are known to increase the risk of certain cancers, reduce the ability for the immune system to fight infections and increase the risk of obesity. It can also cause reproductive issues in women and lead to developmental effects in children.

In 2014, PFAS was discovered in drinking water at Pease International Tradeport in Portsmouth. And then there was the disastrous situation in Merrimack where high levels of PFAS were discovered in the well water of homes around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility. These two situations have raised awareness of PFAS in New Hampshire and heightened concerns for those that lived or worked around the affected areas.

Fortunately, there are major efforts underway to protect people from the dangers of PFAS and to regulate its use. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that two of the most widely used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) — are now designated as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund.

The EPA also recently announced a drinking water regulation program that will require public water systems to monitor for PFAS and ensure PFAS levels are at or below a maximum contaminant level. It’s definitely a step in the right direction and will also provide boundless opportunities for companies who operate in this industry.

One local example is Northeast Purification Systems with offices located in Newington. They’ve partnered with Revive Environmental to bring its PFAS Annihilator to New Hampshire locations. The PFAS Annihilator uses technology that breaks down PFAS and removes it from contaminated wastewater, landfill leach and firefighting foam. It’s a promising technology that will hopefully reduce the risk of New Hampshire residents being exposed to PFAS.

While the entire PFAS situation is deeply concerning, businesses will be held to stricter standards that limit their output of PFAS. The use of PFAS in products will likely never go away; however, it’s reassuring to know that action is being taken to hold producers accountable and limit the amount of PFAS that ends up in our environment and bodies.

If you’re interested in learning more about PFAS in New Hampshire, visit

Christopher Thompson ( writes Closing the Deal weekly.

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