water quality blog

PFAS are forever chemicals, and they’re everywhere

You may have recently heard about PFAS, but what exactly are they?


PFAS stands for “Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.”


These are manufactured chemicals used in items we use every day, like the non-stick paint on our cookware, the stain-resistant coating on our clothes and furniture, and the plastic containers we use to store food. These synthetic chemicals take a long time to break down, which is why they’re called forever chemicals, and scientists are finding them in the air, water, and soil worldwide – including in Miami-Dade County.


County officials are monitoring concentrations in our drinking water to ensure levels are below the EPA recommended thresholds, but we don’t know exactly how much PFAS we are exposed to on a daily basis.


Researchers are still trying to understand the harmful effects these chemicals might have on humans and are searching for solutions to remove them from our environment.


The Waterkeeper Alliance partnered with Cyclopure, a global materials science firm, to conduct a nationwide monitoring study to analyze PFAS in surface waters. Miami Waterkeeper participated in this study by collecting and submitting water samples from the Little River and from a spur canal to be analyzed for PFAS. The study will also help us increase our understanding of where the chemicals are coming from. Because we simultaneously sampled from two locations, the results will be more descriptive of a specific source than applicable to a broader distribution of PFAS; however, it will provide a starting point for further analysis.


What can you do to protect yourself?

Install PFAS-removing water filters, which can fit into at-home filter pitchers.


Reduce the amount of water-repellant, stain-resistant, and fire-resistant items in your household. See below for a list of items that could potentially contain PFAS.

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