Facts About PFAS
What are Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and where do they come from?
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of over 3,000 chemicals that have been in use for more than 50 years. They can be found in industrial and home products and were designed to resist heat, grease, stains, and friction. A wide variety of products are made with PFAS, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, personal care products, and waterproof attire.
When it comes to PFAS, protecting drinking water sources is a priority. Fairfax Water continues to stress the importance of source water protection and its role in keeping drinking water supplies safe.
Has Fairfax Water tested its water for PFAS?
Yes. No perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been detected in Fairfax Water’s drinking water. Local agencies have been testing the Potomac River for PFAS since 2013. All results were well below EPA’s health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS, with many samples being non-detect. In Fairfax Water’s most recent sampling, six different PFAS’s were analyzed, and no PFAS’s were detected.
Is there a regulation for PFAS?
There is currently no established federal water quality regulation for any type of PFAS. In May of 2016, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Both chemicals are types of PFAS.
The EPA’s health advisory states that if water sampling results confirm that drinking water contains PFOA and PFOS at individual or combined concentrations greater than 70 parts per trillion (ppt), water systems should quickly undertake additional sampling to assess the level, scope, and localized source of contamination to inform next steps.
Where can I learn more about PFAS?
American Water Works Association (AWWA): https://drinktap.org/Water-Info/Whats-in-My-Water/Per-and-Polyfluoroalkyl-Substances
Center For Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/PFAS_FactSheet.html
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): https://www.epa.gov/pfas