PFAS Resources

ADEQ is monitoring scientific, regulatory and legal developments related to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) and participating in related discussions with federal, state and local agency partners. Referred to as emerging contaminants, PFAS exposure is linked to potential adverse human health outcomes and is the subject of increasing regulation and litigation. To keep the public and other stakeholders informed, ADEQ will update this PFAS Resources webpage with new information as it becomes available.

THE SCIENCE

What are PFAS?

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals with fire-retardant properties that have been manufactured and used by a variety of industries since 1940. PFAS have been used commercially in the United States to make products like stain and water resistant carpet and textiles, food packaging, firefighting foam, as well as in other industrial processes. The most studied PFAS compounds in the environment are PFOA/PFOS (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate). Since 2000, most industries have been phasing out the use of PFAS | EPA PFAS Webpage > and ATSDR PFAS Webpage >

Why are PFAS a concern?

PFAS can migrate into the soil, water and air during manufacture and use of products containing PFAS. Once in the environment, most PFAS (including PFOA/PFOS) do not break down, so they remain in the environment and can impact groundwater and drinking water sources.

Because of widespread use and their persistence, PFAS are found at low levels in the environment, in a variety of food products, and consequently in the blood of people and animals worldwide. Some PFAS can build up in people and animals with repeated exposure over time | EPA PFAS Technical Fact Sheet > 

How can people be exposed to PFAS?

The most significant PFAS human exposure pathway is drinking impacted municipal or well water in communities near industrial facilities where PFAS were produced or used to manufacture other products, facilities used for the disposal of PFAS containing water, or near oil refineries, airfields, or locations where PFAS-containing products were used for firefighting.

Research generally suggests that human exposure to PFAS from consumer products is low when compared to exposures to impacted drinking water | ATSDR PFAS Exposure Webpage >

Are there health effects from PFAS?

Scientists are still learning about the potential health effects from PFAS exposure. Some studies have shown that certain PFAS may increase the risk of cancer, affect the immune system and impact children’s development | ATSDR PFAS Health Effects Webpage >

How can I reduce my risk of exposure?

PFAS primarily accumulate in a person’s body through drinking water with the compounds or ingestion of food that may have come in contact with the compounds. PFAS are not likely to get into the body from skin contact. Using the water to shower, bathe, wash dishes or clothes, and irrigate landscaping (non-gardening) is not expected to increase exposure | ATSDR PFAS Exposure Webpage >  

The National Safety Foundation (NSF) provides more information about PFAS in drinking water and a list of certified home filtration devices you can search | NSF PFAS in Drinking Water Webpage >

REGULATORY LANDSCAPE

Regulation of PFAS is increasing at federal and state levels in the United States. New regulations are focusing on lowering the limits for acceptable levels of PFAS in groundwater and soil, as well as requiring remediation projects to address PFAS contamination.

What is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doing?

EPA has been addressing emerging PFAS issues through its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. For current information about EPA’s evolving and ongoing actions and guidance | PFAS > and EPA Actions >

  • 2016: EPA developed a Health Advisory Level (HAL) for PFOA/PFOS in drinking water. A HAL provides technical information on a particular contaminant or group of contaminants, but is not an enforceable standard | EPA PFOA & PFOS HAL Fact Sheet >
  • February 2019: EPA published a PFAS Action Plan that outlines the tools EPA is developing to address PFAS in drinking water, identify and clean up PFAS contamination, expand monitoring of PFAS in manufacturing, increase PFAS scientific research and exercise enforcement tools. EPA issued an Update to its PFAS Action Plan in February 2020 and is working toward a regulatory determination for certain PFAS under SDWA | EPA’s PFAS Action Plan > | EPA PFAS Fact Sheet & Infographic >
  • November 2020: EPA is developing new analytical methods to test for PFAS compounds in wastewater, as well as other environmental media | EPA’s Press Statement > | EPA Memo > | EPA PFAS Data and Tools >
  • December 2020: EPA issued interim guidance about the current state of the science on techniques and treatments that may be used to destroy or dispose of PFAS and PFAS-containing materials from non-consumer products, including aqueous film-forming foam (for firefighting) | EPA’s Press Statement > | EPA Interim Guidance >
  • January 2021: EPA shared new information about PFAS contamination related to pesticide packaging, and its related investigation and recommendations. EPA determined that fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers that are used to store and transport a mosquito control pesticide product contain PFAS compounds that are leaching into the pesticide product. As new information becomes available, EPA will provide updates | EPA's Press Statement > | PFAS in Pesticide Packaging >
  • October 2021: EPA's PFAS Strategic Roadmap is released. The roadmap provides a description of forthcoming federal regulatory activities, including a projected timeline of the completion of each. Many major EPA programs will be updated for regulation of select PFAS such as the Offices of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Water, Land and Emergency Management, Air and Radiation, Research and Development and cross-program efforts | View PFAS Strategic Roadmap >

What is Arizona doing?

  • Industry & Public Water System Screening | Learn More >

  • Public Water System PFAS Data (Luke Air Force Base Area) | Learn More >

  • Protecting Tucson’s Drinking Water Supply | Learn More >

  • AFFF Stakeholder Advice, Education & Outreach | Learn More >