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Facts about PFAS

Click on a topic below to view the answers.

What is PFAS?

Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are fluorinated organic chemicals that are part of larger group of chemicals referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Where are these chemicals found?

These chemicals may be found in clothing, carpets, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and other substances (cookware). PFOA and PFOS are also used in firefighting at airfields and in a number of industrial processes and have also been found in drinking water, typically near an industrial facility where these chemicals are produced or used to manufacture other products.

Does the Service Authority test for PFOA and/or PFOS?

Currently, there are no regulatory requirements to test for these chemicals. However, in 2018 and 2019, the Prince William County Service Authority tested for concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in its drinking water. The results indicated concentrations between 9 and 12 parts per trillion (ppt). That level is well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory level of 70 ppt for combined PFOA and PFOS.

Is PFOA/PFOS regulated by the EPA?

The EPA has established a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. However, PFOA and PFOS are not currently regulated like other substances found in drinking water, such as lead and copper.

What are the long-term health effects of PFOA/PFOS on humans?

The EPA has suggested that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over 70 parts per trillion may result in the following human health impacts:

  • Developmental effects
  • Cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Immune disorders
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Cardiovascular concerns

Where can I find more information on PFOA and PFOS?

To learn more about PFOA and PFOS, please visit the EPA’s website by clicking here.