Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Most Popular FAQs
PFAS can get into drinking water when products or wastes containing them are disposed of, used or spilled onto the ground or into lakes and rivers. PFAS move easily through the ground, getting into groundwater that is used for some water supplies or for private drinking water wells. When released into lakes or rivers used as sources of drinking water, they can get into drinking water supplies. PFAS released by facilities into the air can also end up in rivers and lakes used for drinking water.
In Michigan, groundwater monitoring well results are compared to groundwater cleanup criteria:
- PFOS: 16 ppt
- PFOA: 8 ppt
- PFNA: 6 ppt
- PFHxS: 51 ppt
- PFBS: 420 ppt
- PFHxA: 400,000
- HFPO-DA: 370 ppt
Drinking water maximum contaminant levels are found on the Public Drinking Water page.
Samples from lakes and streams are compared to the following water quality values for the protection of human health:
- 11 ppt PFOS or 420 ppt PFOA in a surface water that is within 3,000 feet of a drinking water intake or is a connecting channel or a Great Lake
- 12 ppt PFOS or 12,000 ppt PFOA in a surface water greater than 3,000 feet away from a drinking water intake
- EGLE is in the process of updating the human health values for PFOA and deriving water quality values for PFBS
Test results can vary depending on several factors including the depth of the drinking water wells, groundwater flow direction, and geological characteristics underground. PFAS contamination in groundwater can be found at different depths in the ground depending on the aquifer thickness, type, and whether sand or clay are present. Groundwater flows in certain directions and paths, and depending on your home's and drinking water well's location in relation to the PFAS contamination source, your testing results might show different levels of PFAS than your neighbors well.
Health effects associated with PFAS include:
- Lowering a woman's chance of getting pregnant
- Increasing the chance of high blood pressure in pregnant women
- Increasing the chance of thyroid disease
- Increasing cholesterol levels
- Changing immune response
- Increasing chance of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers
Studies in animals help us understand what could happen in people. Animals given very high amounts of PFOS and PFOA showed:
- Harm to the liver.
- Harm to the animal's ability to fight off sickness.
- Birth defects, slow growth, and pup deaths.
If you have medical questions, talk with your doctor. You may find ATSDR's fact sheet, "Talking to Your Doctor about Exposure to PFAS" helpful.