PFAS stands for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They’re known as “forever chemicals” because they resist degradation, and so they can accumulate in the environment – and in your body – over time.
They have been widely used since the 1940s, most commonly in non-stick cookware and food packaging, stain and water repellants, and firefighting foams. But only recently have they been cited as a potential health risk for things like increased risk of cancer, development effects in children and weakened immune systems. We know you have lots of questions about PFAS. That’s why we created this Portal.
PFAS resources dealers can use right away
WQA’s 5 Things to Know about PFAS
Downloadable Dealer Guide
If you’re a water treatment professional, start with our free downloadable PFAS guide for water treatment dealers. This guide will provide further background into PFAS and how water treatment solutions can help.
How to talk to homeowners and renters about PFAS
Your customers may have questions about PFAS, and it’s important to know how to talk about PFAS in a clear and calm manner. Get the confidence you need to address their questions.
Downloadable Consumer Guide
WQA has created a free download that dealers can use to answer customers’ questions about PFAS. Feel free to print copies to use as a leave-behind document, or you can save it to your iPad for in-home presentations.
Keep in mind WQA’s Code of Ethics underscores the need for members to be “trusted professionals” as they offer recommendations to their customers. Not yet a member? Learn more about the value of Membership and why it makes sense to join the growing community of water treatment professionals.
Chemistry of PFAS
The chemistry of PFAS allows these compounds to be highly mobile, persistent, and resist degradation, meaning they accumulate in the environment and in living beings over time. Once in the environment, there is no way for these chemicals to be naturally broken down. They must be removed.
Testing has found PFAS chemicals in water in many locations across the world. It is estimated the drinking water supply for at least 19 million people in 43 states in the U.S. is contaminated with PFAS. Learn more bout PFAS Chemistry and treatment.
What can be done to treat PFAS?
Activated carbon filtration, reverse osmosis (RO), and anion exchange water treatment technologies can reduce PFAS in a home’s drinking water. Look for products certified to standards NSF/ANSI 53 or NSF/ANSI 58 for PFAS reduction. The effectiveness of each technology depends on how much and the type of PFAS found in the water you are attempting to treat. In most cases, a POU device will be sufficient to treat PFAS, but that is not always the case.
To find products certified by WQA for PFOA and PFOS removal, use the certified products search tool.
Disposing of PFAS
Regardless of the treatment selected for PFAS removal, an important consideration is the disposal of the media or resin. Local requirements and regulations for media and resin disposal and/or incineration should be followed. Federal regulations must also be considered. Please see the Dealer Guide for further information and links to resources.
Regulatory Update on PFAS
On March 29, 2023, the EPA published its proposal for the first National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS. The proposal consists of both an enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) for PFOA and PFOS as well as a hazard index (HI) calculation for PFNA, PFHxS, PFBS, and HFPO-DA (GenX Chemicals). Read more here.
Watch: Government Affairs report on EPA’s next steps on PFAS
In this video, WQA Government Affairs Director Jeremy Pollack summarizes the comments WQA submitted to the federal Environmental Protection Agency on its first National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for six PFAS chemicals. Those comments highlight the capabilities of third-party certified POU and POE drinking water treatment systems for addressing PFAS in drinking water.
- WQA Press Release on new testing capability for PFAS
- PFAS in the WQA Knowledge Base. Covers chemistry, health impacts, regulations, and treatment options
- PFAS Insights from the Water Quality Research Foundation
Keeping it simple – Explaining PFAS to Customers
This video is from one of our main education sessions at the 2023 WQA Convention & Exposition in Las Vegas. The session was called More than a sale: Ethics and PFAS. The discussion was moderated by Candice Wentling, Director of Certified Action, and featured Greg Reyneke with Crusader Water and Red Fox Advisors and a member of the WQA Board of Governors, along with WQA Technical affairs Director Eric Yeggy. All three are Master Water Specialists. Learn more about the WQA Code of Ethics here.
If you have any questions about PFAS or comments about the PFAS Portal, please reach out to WQA at email@example.com.