Am I at risk? How do you clean it up? A PFAS expert answers basic questions.
PFAS is an acronym for a group of industrial chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.
They’ve been used since the ’50s, in everything from firefighting foam to fast-food paper wrappers to stain-resistant textiles and carpeting, waterproof shoes and boots, non-stick pots and pans, and more.
The chemicals have been found in groundwater in 29 sites in 14 communities around the state, and it seems that the more the state DEQ looks, the more contamination it finds.
Getting firm answers on how much PFAS exposure is dangerous and how to best clean it up has been hard to nail down.
Listen above for the full conversation, or catch highlights below.
So a study that we did a couple of years ago estimated, based on the best EPA data that we have, that something like 6 million Americans are served by water supplies that contain levels of PFAS at concentrations higher than what EPA says is safe."
Ideally, when you’re dealing with a contaminated site, you can imagine an aquifer underground is sort of like a cup of Coke, and that all the liquid in that cup of Coke is contaminated, you’d like to clean it all up.
For other types of contaminants, we have, for instance, bacteria that we can use to clean up all the contaminated groundwater because those bacteria can break down the contaminants.
That doesn’t work with PFAS because they’re so stable, they’re so strong.
Because these contaminants are not regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act like many water contaminants.