Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that are often used to make consumer products due to their oil-, stain-, and water-repellent properties.

PFAS chemicals are also referred to as "forever chemicals”.

Where are PFAS?

PFAS can be found in:

  • Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.

  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).

  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.

  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).

  • Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

    (Source for Above - EPA)

How do PFAS affect health?

PFAS encompasses a large group of substances. The more common substances, like PFOS, PFOA, perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), have been studied more than other PFAS (Source).

Some studies in humans with PFAS exposure have shown that some PFAS may:

  • affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children

  • lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant

  • interfere with the body’s natural hormones

  • increase cholesterol levels

  • affect the immune system

  • increase the risk of cancer

(Source for Above - ATSDR)

Information for Clinicians and Environmental Health Professionals >>

Are PFAS in Wisconsin?

Industrial sites like the Tyco/Johnson Controls facilities in Marinette, Wisconsin are sources of PFAS groundwater contamination (Source - CSWAB)

In July 2018, the Department of Defense identified eight (8) sites with known or suspected release of two PFAS compounds ‐ PFOA and PFOS.

  1. Badger Army Ammunition Plant

  2. Fort McCoy, U.S. Army base

  3. General Mitchell Air Reserve Station

  4. General Mitchell State Air National Guard Base

  5. Madison Air Support Facility, Army National Guard

  6. Truax Field State Air National Guard Base

  7. Volk Field State Air National Guard Base

  8. West Bend Air Support Facility, Army National Guard

    (Source for Above - CSWAB)

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