PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. These chemicals are used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions and repel oil, stains, grease and water. PFAS chemicals include PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid).
PFAS chemicals from household and commercial products may find their way into water, soil, and biosolids. As a result, PFAS have been found found in people, fish, and wildlife all over the world. Some PFAS do not break down easily and therefore stay in the environment for a very long time, especially in water. Some PFAS can also stay in people’s bodies for a long time.
What is Vermont doing to address PFAS?
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources through the Department of Environmental Conservations is working with the Vermont Department of Health to continue to reduce or eliminate PFAS in commercial products and industrial uses; identify sources of PFAS exposure in Vermont; protect Vermonters from existing exposures to PFAS; and encourage the EPA to provide national leadership on the management of PFAS.
The department has been working on PFAS since 2016 when widespread groundwater contamination was discovered in Bennington. Review the 2023 PFAS Roadmap or the Roadmap Summary, which outlines strategic priorities relating to PFAS and summarizes the actions taken by DEC to address PFAS in Vermont.
For any questions or concerns, call the PFAS hotline at 802-693-0206.