PFAS Contamination in the U.S.

Mapping the PFAS Contamination Crisis: New Data Show 712 Sites in 49 States

WHY IS THIS MAP IMPORTANT?

The extent of American communities’ confirmed contamination with the highly toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate. As of July 2019, 712 locations in 49 states are known to be affected.

The latest update of an interactive map by EWG and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University, documents publicly known PFAS pollution in public water systems and military bases, airports, industrial plants and dumps, and firefighter training sites. (Details on our sources and methodology are here.)

The updated map shows contamination of 206 military installations, a legacy of the Pentagon’s 50-year history of using firefighting foam with PFAS. The July 2019 update added 49 Air Force bases, six Air National Guard bases and 43 civilian airports that are also used by Air National Guard units. Many of the new PFAS detections, obtained by EWG through a government database, reported PFAS levels greater than 100,000 parts per trillion, or ppt.

Explore the Map

WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT DOING?

The Environmental Protection Agency has known of PFAS’ health hazards for decades but has failed to limit PFAS discharges into the air and water or set cleanup standards. The agency recently released a so-called PFAS action plan, but it is woefully inadequate. The EPA plan will not address ongoing sources of PFAS pollution, will not clean up legacy pollution, and will not even require reporting of toxic PFAS releases. (See the complete list of EWG’s recommendations for federal action on PFAS.)

In response, more than 30 bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to monitor the scope of PFAS contamination, require reporting of PFAS releases, address ongoing PFAS contamination, and clean up legacy PFAS pollution. States are also taking steps to address PFAS pollution by banning some uses of PFAS and setting cleanup standards.


Special thanks to EWG interns Joshua Pike, Connie Xiong and Andrew Rawlings for their contributions to this project.

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