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Facts about PFAS

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What are perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)?

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of over 3,000 manmade chemicals used in the manufacture of a wide variety of industrial and household products designed to resist heat, water, oil and stains. A wide variety of products are made with PFAS, including non-stick cookware, food packaging, personal care products and water-resistant apparel.

Is PFAS regulated in drinking water?

There is currently no federal or state water quality regulations for any type of PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for combined concentrations of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) in drinking water, which are classified as PFAS.

The EPA’s health advisory states that if water testing results confirm drinking water contains PFOA and PFOS at individual or combined concentrations greater than 70 ppt, water systems should quickly conduct additional sampling and testing to assess the level, scope and source of contamination.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is currently planning to conduct a study on PFAS levels in drinking water.

How does PFAS get into drinking water sources?

PFAS in drinking water typically enter drinking water supplies (lakes, rivers, wells, etc.) through storm water runoff and wastewater originating from facilities where PFAS chemicals were produced or used.

Has the Service Authority tested its drinking water for PFAS?

In 2018 and 2019, the Service Authority tested water samples collected from the water distribution system for PFOA and PFOS. All test results for combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS were below the EPA health advisory level, ranging from Not Detected (ND) to 11.4 PPT.

What is the Service Authority doing about PFAS?

The Service Authority looks forward to receiving further guidance from the EPA and VDH and will take necessary actions to meet federal and state drinking water regulations for PFAS when they have been established.

How can I limit my exposure to PFAS?

  • Read labels and try to avoid using products with PFAS, like some non-stick cookware, paints, degreasers, and fire-fighting foams, as well as products like waterproof and water-resistant clothing, certain cosmetics, stain-resistant upholstery and carpet and food packaged in grease-proof wrappers or containers.
  • Avoid products containing ingredients listed as PTFE or perfluoro-, or polyfluor-.
  • Support efforts to protect drinking water sources from PFAS.

Where can I learn more about PFAS?