What Are PFAs?

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 are commonly found in every household and in products as diverse as:

  • Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
  • Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

What are PFAS used for?

PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe since the 1940s. In the 1950s, companies began manufacturing PFOA and PFOS, two types of PFAS, for product applications because of their ability to repel water, protect surfaces, resist heat and many other useful properties.

Two of the most common types (PFOS and PFOA) were phased out of production in the United States in 2002 and 2015 respectively but are still present in some imported products.

What does this mean for Nampa?

Currently, PFAs and PFOs are not federally regulated, and public water systems are not required to monitor these containments. Idaho has adopted EPA’s national primary drinking water standard to ensure the safest and highest quality product for our residents.  The City of Nampa is actively engaging EPA and Idaho DEQ to monitor conservations surrounding PFAs and PFOs regulatory actions.

How can I learn more?