PFAS pollution is an emerging and persistent problem around the world

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a family of frequently used chemicals in many consumer products, that are increasingly known to cause a variety of human health impacts and persist in the environment over fantastically long timeframes. These chemicals are used in non-stick pans, fabric treatments and food products and have been marketed under names like Teflon, Scotchgard and GORE-TEX. As such, PFAS is found most everywhere in low concentrations, but can create much more acutely contaminated sites where it is produced or discarded or where it is used frequently in fire fighting foams at airports and military bases.

PFAS are organic molecules that get into biological tissue easily and persist there for years. Studies link PFAS in human tissues with depressed immune systems, increased cholesterol, decreased birth weights, decreased vaccine response, increased blood pressure, changing liver enzymes and increased risk of kidney and testicular cancers. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS and have PFAS in their blood.

State and Federal regulators and elected officials have begun to respond to the threats posed by PFAS. Use the map below to see what states are doing, and still needs to be done.