Skip to main content

FAQ: PFAS and filters or alternate water

Three clear unbranded bottles of drinking water against a white background

FAQ: PFAS and filters or alternate water

PFAS can be released to the environment by manufacture and use of items that have PFAS in them. PFAS in the environment may enter surface water, groundwater, and drinking water wells.

Some drinking water wells may have PFAS in amounts that are high enough to cause concern for human health. For these residents, in-home water filtration systems are recommended to lower the levels of the PFAS in their drinking water.

In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) set a lifetime health advisory (LHA) level for two PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), in drinking water. These are the chemicals that are used in the certification for filters. Because of this, filters are certified to reduce levels in water to below 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS. Currently filters are not certified to reduce other PFAS.

  • MDHHS recommends filters which have been certified to reduce the amount of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water.  In order to be certified, a water filter must undergo extensive testing which meets the strict requirements set by the American National Standard Institute for drinking water units - health effects.

    Prior to March 2019, the accepted was NSF Standard P473. That standard was retired and has been replaced by American National Standard 53 from ANSI

    Reverse osmosis systems must also meet all of the requirements in the NSF/ANSI 58 standard. To meet these requirements a filter must be able to reduce PFOS and PFOA below the EPA LHA level. Certified products must be retested periodically and their manufacturing facilities must be inspected every year.

  • If you have a private drinking water well and MDHHS or your health department has contacted you recommending use of a filtration system, one will be provided to you at no cost. Replacement cartridges will also be provided to you at no cost.

    Contact your health department to ask about getting a filter or having one installed.

  • It depends on the filtrations system you are using. The filtration systems provided by MDHHS last approximately 6 months or 800 gallons of water.

    To get replacement cartridges for filters provided by MDHHS, contact your local health department.