Perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been used for decades in many products such as firefighting foam, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant carpeting, nonstick cookware, food packaging, and cleaning. A large group of man-made chemicals. product. PFAS are used in products for their strength and resistance to heat, water, and oil. These manufactured chemicals are called “permanent chemicals” because they do not naturally degrade or disappear in the environment. It can circulate in air, soil, water and enter the food chain.
People can be exposed to PFAS in drinking water, food, indoor dust, some consumer products, and in the workplace. One of the major sources of potential exposure is drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
Chemicals can enter drinking water when PFAS are manufactured, used, disposed of, or spilled near water sources such as rivers, aquifers, and wells. PFAS are not easily broken down, can persist in tap water for years, and have been found in humans, wildlife, and fish.
PFAS are of public health concern for the following reasons:
- May affect human health.
- It can accumulate in animals, fish, birds, plants, and humans.
- Do not decompose in water, soil, or air.
- Can travel long distances in water or in the air.
Not all PFASs have the same effects on people and the environment. Watch the video What is PFAS? More information from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.