PFAS

What are PFAS?

PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, of which there are thousands of versions. PFAS substances have been used in a variety of everyday items, such as food packaging, waterproof products, firefighting foam, clothes, cosmetics, and many other items. These substances have been used since the 1940s, but because of advanced laboratory testing methods, have been found in soil, drinking water, and human blood. Although research remains ongoing about long-term health impacts, PFAS substances have been found to bioaccumulate, and some studies have linked certain PFAS compounds to health impacts such as low birth weight and cancer.

The most studied PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) are the next most commonly studied PFAS substances. PFOA and PFOS have been phased out of production in the United States, but products manufactured in other countries can still contain these substances.

What Should I Know About PFAS?

PFAS can migrate into soil, water, and air. PFAS substances do not easily break down, so they can remain in the environment for many years. PFAS have been found in human and animal blood all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products, cosmetics, carpets, detergents, and even rainwater.

There is much ongoing research about PFAS. Since PFAS substances are still considered emerging contaminants, continued research is needed to better understand full health impacts of PFAS exposure. As new kinds of PFAS substances are developed, additional research will also be necessary to understand potential exposure issues.

What Can I Do?

  • Be informed. Try to narrow down what you’re using that may contain PFAS and if possible, reduce, replace, or eliminate its use.
  • If you would like to sample water or other products for PFAS, it’s best to hire a qualified laboratory to collect the sample because it is extremely easy to contaminate a PFAS sample.
  • Share Information. You can share this information with people you know to help spread awareness about PFAS. The resources on this page are meant to help spread available information.

Where Can I Get More Information?

Because PFAS substances are still considered contaminants of emerging concern, there are various resources to learn more about PFAS. Members of NEWEA have compiled this list of resources. These are from a wide variety of sources, do not necessarily represent NEWEA or its membership, and are solely for the purpose of sharing available information.

A PFAS legislation tracking spreadsheet has been compiled and can be viewed at the following link.

Additionally, NEWEA’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern Committee has created a resource page with links to information about emerging and existing contaminants, including PFAS.

Resources:

National:

Regional:

State-Level:

Connecticut:

Connecticut has set drinking water action levels for PFOS, PFNA, PFOA, and PFHxS – see this link: https://portal.ct.gov/DPH/Drinking-Water/DWS/Per–and-Polyfluoroalkyl-Substances

Maine:

Maine’s Interim Drinking Water Standard: 20 parts per trillion, sum of 6 PFAS – see this link: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0064&item=3&snum=130

Massachusetts:

Massachusetts has set maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA, and PFDA at 20 parts per trillion for public drinking water – see this link: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas#drinking-water-standards-and-health-information-

New Hampshire:

New Hampshire has set maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, and PFNA – see this link: https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt341/files/documents/dwgb-3-25.pdf

Rhode Island:

Rhode Island has set PFAS drinking water standards for PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpA, and PFDA at 20 parts per trillion for public water supply systems – see this link: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/BillText/BillText22/SenateText22/S2298A.pdf

Vermont:

Vermont has set maximum contaminant levels of 20 ng/L for the sum of five PFAS: PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFHpA, and PFNA – see this link: https://dec.vermont.gov/water/drinking-water/water-quality-monitoring/pfas

Various Reports:

News & Other Information:

Legislation, Policies & Regulations:

National:

State:

Connecticut:

Maine:

Massachusetts:

New Hampshire:

Rhode Island:

Vermont: