Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large class of chemicals that have been used in numerous products and industrial processes due to their oil and water-resistant properties and their stability. These products include carpet and fabric protection, food packaging, textiles, ski wax, aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) used for firefighting, personal care products, and many more.
PFAS are long lasting chemicals, components of which do not break down over time, and are commonly called “forever chemicals.” Because of their widespread use and their persistence, PFAS are found in water, air, and soil and can be present in a variety of foods and in the human body. Numerous communities in the northeast have drinking water sources that are impacted by PFAS.
Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals, including:
- Reproductive effects, such as decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women
- Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes
- Increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers
- Reduced ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections, including reduced vaccine response
- Interference with the body’s natural hormones
- Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity
NEWMOA has undertaken a variety of PFAS activities, including:
Check out NEWMOA’s PFAS Fact Sheet for more information.
Two NEWMOA programs with separate websites have workgroups and/or efforts related to PFAS: