The acronym, PFAS, stands for poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are a complex group of nearly 4,000 man-made fluorinated organic chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products. Some of the more common PFAS chemicals are PFOS, PFOA and PFNA. The chemicals were first synthesized in the 1930s and their first major use was in Teflon® cookware. PFAS are “forever” chemicals that will not breakdown in the environment. Due to extensive use and environmental stability, PFAS contamination is widespread. PFAS can be found in blood samples from virtually all humans and is frequently detected in groundwater, surface water systems, and drinking water supplies.
PFAS can be found in:
In the body, PFAS primarily settle into the blood, kidney, and liver. With such widespread exposure to PFAS, it’s no surprise that PFAS chemicals are detected in the blood of up to 98% of the US population. Research continues to grow on the effects of PFAS. Adverse health effects of PFAS include:
One big way we can limit our exposure to PFAS is by taking control of our drinking water. In 2018, New Jersey became the first state to establish an enforceable drinking water regulatory limit for a specific PFAS chemical (PFNA). In addition, on June 1, 2020, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) officially published its adoption of enforceable
maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for two other specific PFAS chemicals (PFOA & PFOS). Quarterly monitoring of public water systems has begun for PFNA. Monitoring by all community and non-transient non-community water systems to start in the 1st quarter of 2021 for PFOA & PFOS. PFAS compounds will be added to the NJ Private Well Testing Act.