What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, including in the United States since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

PFAS Contamination in Madison – and elsewhere – primarily comes from the firefighting foam that has been used for decades at military bases for training exercises and putting out fires. Local officials have directed the use of non-PFAS-containing foams but the military still uses them.

PFAS Resources:

Soil and Water Contamination in Madison


Maria Powell, Midwest Environmental Justice Organization
PFAS, Soil & water contamination & cleanup

Dr. Beth Neary, Wisconsin Environmental Health Network
Health effects of noise and PFAS

Dane County and Madison Public Health Department
Presentation to the Lakes and Watershed Commission Jan 23, 2020 on PFAS & Fish Advisories with public comments and discussion

What is the Dane County doing to clean up PFAS at the County Airport?
Dane County Attorney, Lakes and Watershed Commission Jan 23, 2020

Related posts (not complete):

Statewide Coalition of 30 Groups Call for Federal Listing of Toxic PFAS Chemicals (Jan 31, 2020)

DHS warns of PFAS in fish from Lake Monona, Starkweather Creek (Jan 15, 2020)

The fight for safe drinking water – Will Madison officials pay attention to the science on PFAS? (Jan 9, 2020)

Truthout: Democrats Back Down From Battle With Defense Department Over PFAS (Nov 14, 2019)

Pat Elder on The US Military & Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)