What are PFAS
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals which have been used for their water-resistant, oil-resistant, lubrication, or non-flammable properties – fire-fighting foams, anti-stick coating on cookware, food packaging, furniture, carpets, clothing, cosmetics, etc. PFAS are all characterized by carbon-fluorine (C-F) chemical bonds, which are highly stable and will not biodegrade. PFAS enter surface and ground water via multiple means – municipal wastewater, landfill leachate, leachate from contaminated soils (ex. airports, industrial sites).
There is evidence that continued exposure at the nanogram per litre (ng/L) or parts per trillion (ppt) levels for certain PFAS may lead to adverse health effects – cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, liver and thyroid disease, etc. By setting the drinking water heath advisories for the two most common PFAS – PFOA and PFOS at 0.004 ppt and 0.02 ppt respectively, the US EPA is essentially saying that there are no safe levels of these compounds in water.
For more information on PFAS, including the regulatory standards in your jurisdiction, please consult the following sites: