PFAS is a top NJDEP contaminant of emerging concern. They pose potential environmental and public health concerns.
1) Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a subset of man-made fluorinated chemicals containing carbon and fluorine atoms in a chain chemical structure, including PFOS, PFOA, PFNA and many others (thousands, in fact!). These three PFAS chemicals mentioned have been the most extensively studied to date.
2) PFAS have unique chemical properties, which have been utilized in commercial and industrial applications and products across the United States since the 1940s. PFAS sources are found associated with chemical manufacturing plants, commercial airports, and textiles. PFAS are found in an extensive range of everyday consumer products, including firefighting foam, Teflon cookware and waterproof clothing, to name a few.
3) PFAS are extremely resistant to biological/chemical degradation and bioaccumulate in the environment and wildlife. In addition, their high solubility and mobility in surface and groundwater pose a significant challenge to control sources that remediate them.
4) A main concern of PFAS exposure is the contamination to drinking water aquifers. Though there is NO national standard, NJ and other states have set standards in low parts per trillion (ppt) concentrations. NJ has issued standards for three of the chemicals – PFOS, PFOA and PFNA – for both groundwater and drinking water: 10 ppt, 10 ppt and 13 ppt, respectively.
5) The PFAS field sampling procedure is extremely stringent, including specialized hygiene requirements and utilization of unique testing equipment so as not to skew readings.