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USGS is working with federal, state, and local partners to monitor and evaluate perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Pennsylvania's groundwater and surface waters.
Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) are emerging anthropogenic contaminants, classified as a water pollutant, manufactured and used commercially in the U.S. since the 1940s. As a group, PFAS contain more than 4,000 different compounds that are saturated with fluorine, some as carboxylic acids (perfluorooctanoic acid [PFOA]) and some as sulfonic acids (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid [PFOS]). The primary use of the chemicals is in firefighting foams for hydrocarbon fires with so called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), the manufacture of non-stick coatings, the manufacture of stain resistant and waterproof fabric, metal plating, food packaging, paints, and surfactants. Scientific studies indicate PFAS can affect multiple systems in the human body and have effects such as hormone level interference, increased cholesterol levels and risks of certain cancers.
Pennsylvania Water Science Center is working with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and experts across the Nation to develop and implement rigorous and innovative techniques to detect PFAS at low levels and determine the magnitude and spatial distribution of environmental PFAS contamination.
Current Pennsylvania PFAS Projects include:
Associated science projects
USGS Pennsylvania Water Science Center in cooperation with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) released a first-of-its-kind...