Facts about PFAS

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

What are per – and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)?

Per – and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manmade chemicals that have been used worldwide, including in the United States, in consumer products, industrial applications and in firefighting since the 1940s. There are between 6,000 and 10,000 different chemical compounds in the PFAS family and they are used to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water.

Are PFAS regulated?

Virginia does not have a regulatory standard at this time. 

PFAS were included in the EPA’s Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule testing in order to determine how prevalent certain perfluorinated compounds are in U.S. drinking water supplies and at what level they appear.

To provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water,  the EPA released health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), making a lifetime health advisory for each compound, or a sum total of the two, of 0.07 parts per billion.

What is Stafford County Doing?

In April 2021, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) requested that Stafford County, along with several other Virginia waterworks, participate in a Virginia PFAS Sampling Study. Results from VDH's Sampling Study were received in June 2021 and can be found here: Stafford County PFAS Sampling Study Results

Virginia Department of Health's PFAS in Drinking Water Sample Study Summary

The results at Stafford’s water treatment plants for PFOA and PFOS, the two compounds under review for pending regulation, were well below the EPA health advisory level of 70 ppt, and all of the current maximum contaminant limits established by individual states. 

What can I do?

  • Cook at home. Home-cooked meals are often more nutritious, and the fresher your food is, the less likely it will be to have been exposed to packaging that may contain PFAS or other concerning chemicals.
  • Check your cookware. Cook with stainless steel, cast-iron, glass, or ceramics. Avoid nonstick cookware.
  • Read consumer product labels on cleaning products, cosmetics and other personal care products. Choose products without PTFE or perfluoro- or polyfluoroalkyl substances.
  • Avoid stain or water-resistant carpets and upholstery; decline stain treatment.
  • Avoid using grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and sliced cheese wrappers 

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