Why is PFAS Research Increasing?
PFAS are in the human body.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey demonstrate that most adolescents and adults have detectable levels of PFAS in their blood (CDC, 2018). However, the correlation between environmental exposure and blood serum levels is not well understood.
PFAS are in the environment.
Data on PFAS in some environmental media such as air, food, and indoor dust are limited, but sites with elevated levels in drinking water continue to emerge. PFAS compounds have been identified in drinking water derived from both surface water and groundwater sources. In March 2023, EPA announced that they are proposing a national drinking water standard for six PFAS. The proposal, if finalized, would require public water systems to monitor for these chemicals.
Little is known about PFAS toxicity and its long-term effects on humans and the environment.
According to EPA, scientific research has shown that exposure to certain levels can cause decreased fertility in women, developmental delays in children, and increase risk of some cancers. In 2016, the EPA issued a lifetime health advisory for PFOS and PFOA of 70 parts-per-trillion (EPA 2016a; EPA 2016b). The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has since released advisories proposing much lower minimum risk levels for PFAS and PFOA (ATSDR, 2018b).