PFAS and PFOS in Water

What are PFAS and PFOS?

PFAS are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances – a group of chemicals including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) – used in a range of products since the 1940s. These chemical compounds are used to make firefighting foams, food packaging, adhesives, pesticides, nonstick cookware, and waterproofing treatments for fabrics. Once these chemicals exist, they don’t break down in the environment or the body, earning them the name “forever chemicals.”

There are over 4,000 of these synthetically made PFAS chemicals and each of these chemicals can exist in both ground and municipal water sources. It’s especially concerning for public health when these forever chemicals leach into drinking water since there is no way to eliminate them from our bodies once they are ingested.

What Are the Common Misperceptions About PFAS?

There are several misperceptions about PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that may contribute to confusion about these chemicals and their potential risks:
  • Is PFAS only detected in well water? While they can be found in both well water and municipal water, they are more commonly found in wells due to the fact that they are not regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, which sets standards for contaminants in public water systems.
  • Are PFAS chemicals only found in certain parts of the country? PFAS have been detected in water and other environmental media in all 50 states. It’s also a global water issue that crosses all borders since water.
  • Does boiling water remove PFAS? Boiling water will not remove PFAS from your water. These chemicals are highly stable and resistant to degradation.
  • What does the “Safe Drinking Water Act” regulate for PFAS levels? While the Safe Drinking Water Act sets standards for contaminants in public water systems, it does not regulate PFAS removal. Additionally, there are no regulations for PFAS entering groundwater systems that feed into home water supplies.

Want to Know What’s in Your Water?

Scroll to Top