Regulation of PFAS
EPA has established health advisories for PFOA and PFOS based on the agency’s assessment of the latest peer-reviewed science to provide drinking water system operators, and state, tribal and local officials who have the primary responsibility for overseeing these systems, with information on the health risks of these chemicals, so they can take the appropriate actions to protect their residents. EPA is committed to supporting states and public water systems as they determine the appropriate steps to reduce exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water and other potential sources of contamination. As the science on the health effects of these chemicals evolves, EPA will continue to evaluate new evidence.
To provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water, EPA has established health advisory levels at 70 parts per trillion. This advisory (70 ppt) includes exposure to PFOA and PFOS individually or a combined exposure from both.
Health advisories provide information on contaminants that can cause adverse health effects through exposure, in this instance exposure through PFAS-contaminated drinking water. EPA's health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory and provide technical information to state agencies and other public health officials on adverse health effects, analytical methodologies, and treatment technologies associated with drinking water contamination. EPA’s health advisory level for PFOA and PFOS offers a margin of protection for all Americans throughout their life from adverse health effects resulting from exposure to PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.
EPA’s health advisories are based on the best available peer-reviewed studies of the effects of PFOA and PFOS on laboratory animals (rats and mice) and are informed by epidemiological studies of human populations that have been exposed to PFAS. These studies indicate that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney), liver effects (e.g., tissue damage), immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects (e.g., cholesterol changes) and others. There is limited information identifying health effects from inhalation or dermal exposures to PFOA or PFOS in humans and animals. To learn more about the foundational studies for development of current health advisories, see EPA’s Health Effects Support Documents for PFOA and PFOS.