Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. PFAS do not occur naturally, and some are widespread in the environment. They are found in people, wildlife and fish all over the world. Some PFAS can stay in a person's body for a long time and do not break down easily in the environment.

PFAS Exposure in People

PFAS persist in the environment and exposure in people can occur by consuming PFAS-contaminated water or food. Exposure may happen by using products that contain PFAS

 How PFAS Affect People’s Health

Human health effects from exposure to low environmental levels of PFAS are uncertain. Studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS indicate that some PFAS may affect growth and development. In addition, these animal studies indicate PFAS may affect reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and injure the liver. Epidemiologic studies on PFAS exposure evaluated several health effects. Descriptions of these studies are available at: More research is necessary to assess the human health effects of exposure to PFAS.

For more information, visit the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)