PFAS Water Contamination
Last year, thousands of families across the country learned that the water coming out of their faucets was contaminated with chemicals linked to kidney disorders, cancer, and more.
Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made toxic chemicals we use to make consumer products resistant to water, grease or stains, including Gore-Tex rain gear, Teflon non-stick cookware and Scotch guard stain-repellant for carpets or furniture fabric.
The biggest threat of exposure to PFAS is through drinking water; these chemicals are extremely persistent in the environment, which means they last a long time and harmful exposure is possible even after the active contamination has stopped.
Research has shown probable links between PFAS exposure and cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Unbelievably, loopholes won by multinational companies mean there is currently no required testing or cleanup, leaving families at risk.
We all deserve to know that the water coming out of our faucet is safe. That’s why Toxics Action Center is working to close the loopholes in our toxics regulations, strengthen drinking water protections, and support community groups fighting for their community’s right to clean drinking water.
Quick PFAS Links
Fact Sheets on PFAS
- The Boston University Superfund Research Program has a two-page fact sheet on Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) (updated 12/2016).
- The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ) has fact sheets on PFOS/PFOA Toxicity and on PFOS/PFOA in Blood.
- The Green Science Policy Institute: Fluorinated Alternatives: Myths versus Facts
- In May 2016, the US EPA released new Health Advisories on PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water.
- The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s fact sheet, Health Effects of PFAS.
- See the US EPA’s reference sheet on Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).
PFAS Chemicals and Community Health: An Introduction
Are you concerned about PFAS in your drinking water? Would conducting a health study facilitate the change you want to see? The Health Studies Guide is designed to help community groups clarify questions and goals, determine whether or not a health study is an appropriate strategy to investigate an environmental health concern, and develop a strategic plan to ensure that the health study produces the information that the community wants and needs. The Health Studies Guide is free and available online and was developed in partnership with Boston University.
PFAS Conference Presentations
Check out presentations from activists, experts and scientists that were presented during our 2017 PFAS Conference at Northeastern University.
PFAS at Vermont Crossroads Conference
Check out a PFAS workshop to learn more from community leaders and experts on what these chemicals are, how communities have responded, and what you can do. This video shows a workshop we led at the Vermont Crossroad Conference in November 2017.
Stay Up to Date on the PFAS News
Our partners at Northeastern University Social Science Research Institute maintain a website PFASProject.com where they stay up to date on the emergence of these chemicals across the world.
Interactive Map of PFAS Contaminated Communities
EWG and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern collaborated to produce an interactive map that combines federal drinking water data and information on all publicly documented cases of PFAS pollution from manufacturing plants, military air bases, civilian airports and fire training sites.
Join and Support Community-Led Clean Up Work
The National PFAS Contamination Coalition is a group of impacted community leaders who have come together to better support local organizing for clean water and health protection by better sharing local campaign stories, information/data/facts, and connect to experts; and to build a bigger movement of national change on these issues by working on state and national campaigns together for solutions and to build a collaborative and powerful force to take on big polluters. See their page here.