Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of manufactured chemicals that are collectively referred to as PFAS. PFAS are used in a variety of products and applications including non-stick cookware, upholstered furniture, clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foam used to extinguish petroleum fires. These substances are not found naturally in the environment. They do not break down easily and are extremely persistent in both the environment, especially in water, and the human body. It is estimated that there are approximately 3,000 PFAS in production. The terminology for this family of substances has been evolving. The current accepted acronym for this family of chemicals is PFAS, but references to “perfluorinated compounds,” or PFC’s remain in older literature and fact sheets.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a life time health advisory (HA) of 70 parts per trillion (ppt, equivalent to nanogram per liter or ng/l) in drinking water for two PFAS: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) or the sum of PFOA+PFOS for public drinking water. The CT DPH Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program has found the U.S. EPA Health Advisory of 70 ppt to be protective. Further, it has developed a CT DPH Drinking Water Action Level applicable to private wells in Connecticut in which the sum of five PFAS chemicals (PFOA and PFOS, plus perfluorononanoic acid, PFNA, perfluorohexane sulfonate, PFHxS, and perfluoroheptanoic acid, PFHpA) should not exceed the limit of 70 ppt.
Beginning in 2013, the EPA required that all public water systems (PWSs) serving more than 10,000 individuals test for six PFAS compounds. Connecticut’s large PWSs conducted multiple rounds of testing from 2013 to 2015 and did not detect PFAS in the water from their sources of supply. These sources of supply provide drinking water for over 2.4 million daily customers in CT.
The DPH Drinking Water Section, collaborating with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), is in the process of identifying areas in the state where sources of public drinking water may be vulnerable to PFAS. Any PWSs determined to be vulnerable will be notified directly by the Connecticut DPH.
For more information and fact sheets, the following links are provided:
Treatment Options Available
For further inquiries:
Questions about drinking water from Public Supplies and treatment options:
DPH Drinking Water Section: 860-509-7333
Questions on drinking water from Private Wells and treatment options:
DPH Private Well Program, 860-509-7296.
Questions about PFAS Health Effects:
DPH Environmental & Occupational Health Assessment Program, (860) 509-7740
Questions on PFAS Sources:
DEEP Remediation Division, 860-424-3705