What Is PFAS?

What is PFAS? Let Gordon Water be your guide

Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the United States since the 1940s, including stain and water repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams.

This has contributed as a major source of groundwater contamination at areas surrounding airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs. While some of West Michigan’s issues arise from this, they link the majority to industrial contaminants.

Of this group, PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied. They have recently given these chemicals the moniker of ‘Michigan’s next water crisis,’ as they are colorless, odorless, tasteless and undetectable without a proper water test.

Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body–meaning they don’t properly break down and can bio-accumulate. This has earned the group of chemicals another clever nickname, ‘forever chemicals’ because of just how long this process can take.

There is significant evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects such as

  • Some Cancers
  • Reproductive & Developmental Issues
  • Kidney & Liver Issues
  • Thyroid Hormone Disruption
  • Auto-Immune Disorders/Complications
  • Low Infant Birth Weight
Local organizations like the West Michigan Environmental Action Council and Gordon Water Systems are educating the public about water programs and PFAS contamination. If you or someone you know is concerned with contamination, share this blog and click the link below to fill out a contact form for a free water test.