What are these chemicals and where do they come from?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of over 5,000 man-made chemicals with many useful properties including the ability to repel water, prevent staining and increase heat resistance. PFAS have many industrial and consumer uses including the coating of fabrics, carpets, electrical wire, and non-stick cookware, in food packaging (e.g., microwave popcorn bags and fast-food wrappers), as a mist suppressant in metal plating, and in firefighting foam used by firefighters to put out petroleum fires, but not typically in home fire extinguishers. Four of the most studied PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), are found with the highest frequencies and concentrations in the environment, in humans and in wildlife. We know the most about the harmful effects and environmental fate of these four PFAS. While PFOS and PFOA have been phased out of production, they are very persistent chemicals and can remain in the environment for long periods after being removed from the marketplace.

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1. What are these chemicals and where do they come from?
2. What is the current Connecticut DPH drinking water Action Level for PFAS and how was it developed?
3. How do these chemicals get into drinking water?
4. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals. Why has CT only derived drinking water action levels for four of them?
5. If I have PFAS in my water, what precautions should I be taking for my pets, farm animals, home grown produce, and irrigation of my garden?
6. Can I remove PFAS by boiling my water?
7. I am a customer of a public water system. How can I find out if my water has been tested for PFAS?
8. How do I know if bottled water is safe?
9. How can PFAS affect my health?
10. Why have states set different acceptable levels for PFAS in drinking water?
11. Should I test my blood for PFAS?
12. How can I limit my overall exposure to PFAS?
13. I have a well, should I test the water for PFAS? How can I test my well for PFAS?
14. How does the State decide which wells are going to be tested for PFAS?
15. What happens if there are PFAS in my well?
16. Does the home water treatment system I have work to remove PFAS? What types of treatment address PFAS in drinking water?
17. What type of water treatment system will be installed if my PFAS levels exceed the Connecticut Action Levels? Who will maintain my treatment system, and how often?
18. CT DPH Contacts and Resources
19. External Resources