Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of chemicals commonly used since the 1950s in carpets, furniture & other fabrics, cooking tools, outdoor clothing, paper products, fire-fighting foams, and numerous industrial applications. They are now found throughout the world environment in trace amounts. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (also called perfluorooctane sulfonate, both referred to as PFOS), the most common and best-studied PFAS, have had considerable public attention in recent years, including in northern New England and New York. Concerns have focused on impacts near industrial facilities that used PFAS, especially impacts on drinking water. In 2016, U. S. EPA created a public health advisory for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water of 70 ppt for the two chemicals combined. A few states (MN, NH, NJ, VT) have adopted that or lower enforcement standards or advisory levels, but most jurisdictions have not adopted any state level, because of the fact that these chemicals are ubiquitous in society and the environment and there is ongoing uncertainty about their impacts. PFAS are routinely found in wastewater effluents, municipal biosolids, and other residuals (e.g. paper mill residuals). The only PFAS concern related to these materials is with regards to the potential for PFAS to leach from land applied residuals to groundwater.
Interstate Council Fact Sheets, Nov. 2017 & March 2018 - all 6 fact sheets are now available!
U. S. EPA PFAS webpage
U. S. Centers for Disease Control PFAS health information
The PFAS Project at Northeastern University - tracking media & social responses to this issue
Water Research Foundation PFAS State of the Science, 2016
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