PFAS—or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—are a class of thousands of man-made chemicals used in numerous everyday products, including nonstick cookware, grease-proof food packaging, personal care products, stain- and water-resistant clothing, carpets, and furniture, often unnecessarily.
Linked to a variety of health problems, among them cancer and developmental issues, PFAS can be harmful at extremely low doses. These chemicals have contaminated the air, soil, water, plants, wildlife—even our own bodies. In fact, PFAS can be detected in the blood of nearly every American.
Scientists and health officials, including NRDC experts, are ringing the alarm about these toxic chemicals. Not only are PFAS highly mobile, spreading easily throughout the environment, but they also do not break down and can accumulate in our bodies and the food we eat.
Despite all this, the federal government still allows companies to dump PFAS into rivers, lakes, and streams or to release them into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t even require disclosure of PFAS use or track the chemicals in our environment or drinking water.
To fill the void left by federal inaction, NRDC and partners have been instrumental in helping a number of states step up by setting enforceable standards for drinking water and regulating the use of PFAS in products such as firefighting foam, carpets, and rugs. We are also working to stop companies from selling consumer products that contain PFAS. And with partners, NRDC is pushing for federal legislation that would regulate these harmful chemicals and help protect people’s health.