PFOA and PFOS in Water

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the exposure of PFOA & PFOS above certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), cancer (e.g.,testicular, kidney), liver effects (e.g., tissue damage), immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects and other negative health effects (e.g., cholesterol changes).
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Interactive Map for PFOA & PFOS
Use this interactive map provided by the EWG to see if your county's water supply has high levels of PFOA and PFOS.

Industrial pollution can lead to harmful PFOA & PFOA-related chemicals in water.

Sources of PFOA & PFOS

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are chemicals that have been used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging and other materials (e.g., cookware) that are resistant to water, grease or stains. PFOA and PFOS are a subgroup of chemicals named perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). PFOA and PFOS are the two most studied and used chemicals out of this group.

When these chemicals creep into the water supply at concentrations above 70 parts per trillion (ppt), serious health risks including cancer, liver effects, immune effects, thyroid effects, and more can occur from a lifetime of exposure. Infants and young children are especially sensitive to these effects and can cause lifelong issues. Areas near Airforce or military training bases, firefighting testing areas, or plants that manufacture any products containing PFOS and PFOA are at a higher risk for their water containing these harmful chemicals.


Exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health hazards.

Symptoms of PFOA & PFOS

PFOS and PFOA consumption over time can lead to a number of serious health risks. The EPA advises that drinking water with combined levels of PFOA and PFOS over 70 ppt is unsafe for ingestion. Based on a number of peer-reviewed studies, PFOA and PFOS can cause health effects including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or breastfed infants, cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney), immunity problems, liver damage, thyroid effects, and other effects. And that’s just consumption through drinking water!

Levels of PFOS and PFOA have been identified in some food because some of the packaging is made with these chemicals, as well as food grown with contaminated water. However, in January 2016, the FDA outlawed food packaging made with these chemicals.

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Solutions for PFOA & PFOS

In May 2016, the EPA lowered the amount of PFOS and PFOA allowed in safe drinking water, from 400 ppt to 70 ppt for short term exposure, due to an increase in health issues.

How do you find out your water contains PFOS and PFOA? The EPA says people on a public water system can call their local water supplier for information about the amount of PFOS and PFOA in their water. If you are on a private water system, you should have your water tested in a lab immediately as well as contact to your local public health department or state.

How do you get rid of PFOA and PFOS yourself? Research from the Water Research Foundation has shown that "Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis proved to be the most effective methods of removing even the smallest PFASs. Granular activated carbon (GAC) was shown to be adept at removing most PFASs and it may be the average utility’s best bet for PFOA and PFOS contamination." Our professional recommendation is a Reverse Osmosis System. Not only is a home RO water filter the best way to reduce PFOA & PFOS from your drinking water, they can last at least a decade, bringing the cost down to as little as just $5 per month!






PFOA & PFOS Health Advisories in the News

"To provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water, EPA established the health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion. When both PFOA and PFOS are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS should be compared with the 70 parts per trillion health advisory level. This health advisory level offers a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water."
- EPA’s 2016 Lifetime Health Advisories

What are perfluoroalkyls? Perfluoroalkyls are chemicals that are not naturally found in the environment. The largest amount of perfluoroalkyls manufactured materials in the U.S. are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).Perfluoroalkyls are commonly found in products such as carpet, clothing treatments, and coating for cardboard and paper packaging. They have also been used in fire-fighting foams. As of 2016, many major companies have confirmed to the EPA that they have phased out PFOA, and chemicals that degrade to PFOA, from emissions and their product's materials since the end of 2015.

Use this interactive map provided by the EWG to see if your county's water supply has high levels of PFOA & PFOS water contaminants.

Information provided by the Environmental Working Group (

Where are perfluoroalkyls found? Perfluoroalkyls can be released into the air, water, and soil at places where they are produced or used. Exposure can occur from breathing in contaminated air or injesting contaminated food and water. Since carpets and upholstery are commonly treated with perfluoroalkyls, children are left especially vulnerable to exposure. The greatest source of exposure to PFOA and PFOS for toddlers and young kids is from hand-to-mouth activities from treated carpets. Certain professionals such as carpet installers are also greatly exposed to perfluoroalkyls. Firefighters who work on sites where aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) contained perfluoroalkyl substances were used can be potentially hazardous, because there is a possibly of transporting them home from contaminated clothing.

Where Can I Learn More?

Spread Awareness About PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories is committed to providing you and your family with knowledge about potential harmful health advisories found in your water. Our premium products work to reduce these toxic contaminants from your water to ensure safe, clean, and healthier water. Click one of the buttons below to share this story on your social media!

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How can I reduce the exposure risks of perfluoroalkyl?
• Choosing to purchase consumer products that do not contain perfluoroalkyl substances.

• If you learn you have potential PFOS and PFOA contamination, installing a reverse osmosis system like the Watts Premier RO System will help reduce these harmful contaminants.