PFAS and Health Effects
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of chemicals widely used to manufacture common consumer goods and can be found in some legacy firefighting foams. PFAS have been used on a variety of materials to make them water, oil, and stain repellant, and can be found in commercial household products, workplace electronic manufacturing, common food storage containers, and numerous other sources. PFAS has been called the “forever chemical” as it stays in the environment for a long duration and does not breakdown easily.
PFAS has been known to enter drinking water at sites where they were manufactured, used, disposed, or spilled. PFAS seeps through the soil into groundwater or surface water. Humans are exposed to PFAS by consuming contaminated drinking water. Adverse health effects in humans exposed to high levels of PFAS may include hepatic, cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, reproductive, and developmental effects.
Please see the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection's (MassDEP) website for further information on Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances.
In January 2020, the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (the Trust) approved a 0% interest loan pilot program for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) projects that remediate PFAS in public water supplies. The goal of these 0% interest loans was to help communities that have identified PFAS in their water to expedite and complete vital projects at the lowest cost possible. Due to the demand from communities, the Trust’s Board voted in July 2020 to continue offering 0% interest DWSRF loans for PFAS remediation projects. In April 2021, the Board approved expanding the program to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).
Any town, city, district, authority, board or governmental unit defined in M.G.L. c. 29C, whose projects have the purpose of reducing PFAS in water below the established Maximum Contamination Level (MCL) of 20 parts per trillion (ppt), may be eligible for a 0% interest loan. This additional subsidy is contingent on the availability of funds and approval of the Trust’s Board.
Clean Water and Drinking Water Project Evaluation Forms are to be submitted to MassDEP during the annual project solicitation period that opens at the beginning of July. For more information about the SRF application process, please visit MassDEP’s SRF Guidance Page.