Fluoride Action Network

Minnesota: New Health Assessment on PFCs, public comments due October 12, 2010

Source: Minnesota Department of Health | September 1st, 2010
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

This report was prepared by:
Minnesota Department of Health
Under Cooperative Agreement with the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry


This Public Health Assessment-Public Comment Release was prepared by ATSDR pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) section 104 (i)(6) (42 U.S.C. 9604 (i)(6), and in accordance with our implementing regulations (42 C.F.R. Part 90). In preparing this document, ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner has collected relevant health data, environmental data, and community health concerns from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), state and local health and environmental agencies, the community, and potentially responsible parties, where appropriate. This document represents the agency’s best efforts, based on currently available information, to fulfill the statutory criteria set out in CERCLA section 104 (i)(6) within a limited time frame. To the extent possible, it presents an assessment of potential risks to human health. Actions authorized by CERCLA section 104 (i)(11), or otherwise authorized by CERCLA, may be undertaken to prevent or mitigate human exposure or risks to human health. In addition, ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner will utilize this document to determine if follow-up health actions are appropriate at this time.

This document has previously been provided to EPA and the affected state in an initial release, as required by CERCLA section 104 (i) (6) (H) for their information and review. Where necessary, it has been revised in response to comments or additional relevant information provided by them to ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner. This revised document has now been released for a 30-day public comment period. Subsequent to the public comment period, ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner will address all public comments and revise or append the document as appropriate. The public health assessment will then be reissued. This will conclude the public health assessment process for this site, unless additional information is obtained by ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner which, in the agency’s opinion, indicates a need to revise or append the conclusions previously issued.

Please address comments regarding this report to:

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Attn: Records Center
1600 Clifton Road, N.E., MS F-09
Atlanta, Georgia 30333

You May Contact ATSDR Toll Free at
1-800-CDC-INFO or
Visit our Home Page at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov



The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) mission is to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans.

For communities affected by perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in their drinking water, MDH’s goal is to protect people’s health by providing health information the community needs to take actions to protect their health. MDH also monitors public water supplies for PFCs, and advises the MPCA on actions that can be taken to protect public health.

PFC-containing wastes were disposed of by 3M in land disposal sites in Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Woodbury, Minnesota. PFCs were released to the groundwater from these sites, possibly shortly after the disposal occurred, resulting in contamination of nearby drinking water wells. There were also possible air emissions during the handling, disposal, or burning of waste, and people could have come into direct contact with the waste.

PFCs continue to be detected in public and private wells across a wide area of south Washington County, and in parts of northern Dakota County and southeastern Ramsey County.


MDH reached two important conclusions in this Public Health Assessment.


MDH cannot conclude whether drinking or breathing PFCs in water or air or contact with PFC-containing wastes in the past harmed people’s health.


A pilot biomonitoring study conducted in residents of Oakdale, Lake Elmo, and Cottage Grove indicated levels of PFCs in blood above national averages. While available evidence suggests that these PFC levels are unlikely to cause adverse health effects, there is no information available regarding PFC levels in resident’s blood or in drinking water in the past.


• MDH should consider additional biomonitoring studies to evaluate PFC levels in area residents exposed to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.


MDH concludes that currently, drinking water from public or private wells that contain PFCs is not expected to harm people’s health.


Current exposures to PFCs are below health-based exposure limits because bottled water or whole-house activated carbon filters have been provided at 29 homes that were issued a drinking water well advisory by MDH. No one is drinking water that has PFCs at levels above health concern.

Remediation actions to address PFCs at the waste disposal sites are in the early implementation stages by 3M and the MPCA.


• 3M should continue to follow the requirements of the Consent Order to implement the selected remediation options for soil and groundwater at the 3M-Woodbury Disposal Site.

• People should avoid trespassing on the 3M-Woodbury Disposal Site, especially during remediation activities.

• Extensions of the Cottage Grove municipal water supply to serve areas where private wells contain levels of PFCs in excess of MDH HRLs or HBVs should be considered.

• Monitoring of selected private wells in the affected area should continue under agreed upon sampling plans to track changes in the plume and monitor for changes in concentration in individual wells.

• 3M should ensure the monitoring network at the disposal site provides adequate information regarding water quality in the “high transmissivity zone” of the Prairie du Chien aquifer.


If you have concerns about your health, you should contact your health care provider. You may also call MDH at 651-201-4897 or 1-800-657-3908 (press #4) and ask for information on PFCs. You may also visit our PFC Web site at