Connecticut DPH has identified limited data about how PFAS might affect the health of cats and dogs. Out of an abundance of caution, homeowners can choose to use an alternative water source for their pets if their well water exceeds the Action Level.
There are good data that show that the amount of long-chain PFAS in chicken eggs is directly correlated with the amount of PFAS in drinking water consumed by hens (short-chain PFAS such as PFHxA and PFBS are not readily transferred from drinking water to chicken eggs). Results from a 2021 study indicate that hens exposed to drinking water with a combined level of PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS that exceeds 3000 ppt (ng/L) are likely to produce eggs with PFAS concentrations that would exceed the limit set by the Australian Government for human consumption (the US Food and Drug Administration, FDA, has not set any limits for PFAS in foods). Therefore, DPH advises that water with the sum of PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS concentrations greater than 3000 ppt not be used for hens if the hens are producing eggs for human consumption. This guidance assumes that hens do not have significant exposure to PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS from soil and/or feed.
PFAS in milk, or meat
There are no data on the uptake of PFAS into the meat or milk of sheep or goats. However, PFAS has been shown to be readily absorbed and excreted into maternal milk of laboratory rodents, dairy cows and humans. In the past few years, several New England farms have detected PFOS in cow’s milk at levels considered ‘unacceptable’ for human consumption. Since the cows’ exposure to PFAS was mainly through contaminated feed (and possibly drinking water), Connecticut DPH is unable to determine the level of PFAS in drinking water that would produce unacceptable levels of PFAS in milk. Given the findings about uptake of PFAS into maternal milk of lab rodents, dairy cows, and humans, it is possible that sheep and goats exposed to elevated PFAS in their water source could accumulate elevated PFAS levels in their milk. For this reason, DPH advises that water with PFAS concentrations greater than the Connecticut DPH Action Level not be used for livestock if the milk is used for human consumption.
With regard to human consumption of sheep or goat meat, there are no data on PFAS uptake into meat, but it is likely, that uptake would occur. Thus, out of an abundance of caution, the homeowner could choose to use an alternative water source for the sheep and goats if they are being raised for meat consumption.
Connecticut DPH continues to monitor the rapidly evolving science on PFAS. As more definitive information becomes available, we will update this FAQ.
Connecticut DPH has developed acceptable PFAS concentrations in water used to irrigate gardens. In developing these values, Connecticut DPH considered PFAS uptake into edible garden produce from irrigation water and consumption of garden produce by children and adults. Connecticut DPH’s irrigation water screening levels are:
At water concentrations greater than these levels, Connecticut DPH advises against the use of water for irrigation of garden produce intended for human consumption.
It should be noted that these screening values (with the exception of PFHxS) were adopted from work done by the state of Maine. Maine did not derive an irrigation value for PFHxS so Connecticut DPH opted to use Maine’s value for PFOS as a surrogate for PFHxS (thus the values for PFOS and PFHxS are the same).