Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
- PFAS Home
- History of PFAS in Minnesota
- MDH Cancer Reporting System (MCRS) Reports
- MDH PFAS Biomonitoring: East Metro
- PFAS and Private Wells
- PFAS Sites in Minnesota
- PFAS and Fish
- PFAS and Health
- PFAS Resources for Health Care Providers
- PFAS Testing of Public Water Systems
- PFAS and Home Treatment of Water
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Environmental Health Division
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
PFAS are a family of human-made chemicals that have been widely used for decades. PFAS are extremely stable and do not breakdown in the environment. PFAS have been found in the groundwater and surface water in Minnesota. Some PFAS can build up and stay in the human body for many years. They can also slowly decline if the exposure stops.
PFAS are emerging contaminants. Emerging contaminants are contaminants about which we have a new awareness or understanding about how they move in the environment or affect public health. PFAS, like other emerging contaminants, are the focus of active research and study, which means that new information is released frequently.
PFAS are commonly used for their water- and grease-resistant properties. People can be exposed through the following:
- Drinking contaminated municipal water or private well water
- Eating fish caught from water contaminated by PFAS (PFOS, in particular)
- Accidentally swallowing contaminated soil or dust from indoor or outdoor places
- Eating food grown or raised near places where PFAS were used, manufactured or disposed of
- Eating food packaged in material that contains PFAS
- Using some consumer products treated with or containing PFAS such as stain resistant carpeting, floor waxes, water repellent clothing and personal care products including cosmetics, dental floss, antifog cleaners for glasses, etc.
- Swimming or recreating in contaminated lakes or rivers
Exposures that are expected to be minor include 1) exposure through skin contact because absorption through skin is low and 2) exposure through breathing in fine water droplets is expected to be infrequent, short, and involve small amount.
Stress at Contaminated Sites: Coping with the stress that environmental contamination can cause (PDF)
History of MDH PFAS Activities in Minnesota
- Since 2002, the MDH has partnered with the MPCA to investigate PFAS in Minnesota.
MDH Cancer Reporting System (MCRS) Reports
- Reports for communities using data reported to MCRS.
MDH PFAS Biomonitoring: East Metro
- Blood levels of PFAS tested over time in people from the St. Paul East Metro area.
PFAS and Private Wells
- Information on testing your private well.
PFAS Sites in Minnesota
- The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) have investigated a number sites across the state where PFAS were released to the environment.
PFAS and Fish
- Advice about eating fish from lakes and rivers where fish have been tested and contaminant levels in some fish species are higher.
PFAS and Health
- Information about health risks of exposure to PFAS, health-based guidance for PFAS in water and air, and how to lower your exposure to PFAS.
PFAS Resources for Health Care Providers
- For use by health care providers in counseling patients.
PFAS Testing of Public Water Systems
- About PFAS testing in drinking water from public water systems.
PFAS and Home Treatment of Water
- If you have concerns about your health, you can take steps to reduce your potential exposure to PFAS from drinking water in your home.
PFAS and Homegrown Garden Produce (PDF)
- Watering home gardens with PFAS‐contaminated water can increase the levels of PFAS in the soil and edible plants.
Other Agency Resources
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: PFAS pollution
- Minnesota Pollution Control Agency: Minnesota’s PFAS Blueprint
- US Environmental Protection Agency: Research on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
- US Environmental Protection Agency: PFAS Explained
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and Your Health
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