What are PFAS and are they in our drinking water?

Scientist looking through a microscope

PFAS stands for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. They are a group of human-made chemicals that have been widely used since the 1940s in various industrial and commercial applications. PFAS are known for their resistance to heat, water, and oil, making them useful in products such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, water-repellent coatings, firefighting foams, and more.

One of the reasons PFAS have gained attention is due to their persistence in the environment and potential health risks. PFAS are resistant to degradation, leading to their accumulation in the environment, including water, soil, and air. They have been detected globally, including in remote areas.

Exposure to PFAS has been associated with adverse health effects. Some studies have linked PFAS exposure to an increased risk of certain cancers, thyroid disease, developmental delays in infants and children, decreased fertility, and immune system dysfunction. However, the full extent of the health effects of PFAS exposure is still being studied, and further research is ongoing.

Woodlands Water began testing for PFAS in 2023. All MUD’s will be tested by 2025 and results will be provided to customers through the annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), mailed to every Woodlands Water customer in June. CCR’s can also be found at www.woodlandswater.org (check under your specific MUD).

For more on PFAS from the EPA: Our Current Understanding of the Human Health and Environmental Risks of PFAS

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