Ohio EPA began testing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) in Ohio’s public water systems in March 2020. To date, the Agency has completed testing on 897 water treatment plants out of the 1,562 identified for testing.
PFAs are substances of a group of man-made chemicals, which have been manufactured since the 1940s. PFAs have been referred to as “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment and accumulate over time. PFAs have been found in common products like fire suppressants, food packaging, and commercial house products, such as water-repellent fabrics, non-stick products, paints, and cleaning products. Some PFAs are no longer manufactured in the United States.
The substances came to the attention of the public after a class action lawsuit was filed against DuPont in 1999 in West Virginia, which resulted in a settlement in 2017 that included DuPont agreeing to pay $671 million in cash to 3,550 personal injury claims. Currently, there are several hundred lawsuits consolidated in the U.S. Federal Court of South Carolina, most of which address drinking water contamination due to the use of fire suppressant materials. This attention has prompted states, including Ohio, to begin testing public water systems for the presence of PFAs.
Of the systems tested, only about 0.05 percent of those systems detected the presence of PFAs. All of the systems with PFAs detection were below the Action Level. The remaining water systems had no detection of PFAs.
While Ohio EPA has 665 additional public water systems to test, the available data indicate that the presence of PFAs in drinking water supplies in Ohio, are minimal. Additional information about Ohio EPA’s testing can be found here.
 “The Ohio Action Levels for PFOA and PFOS are the U.S. EPA lifetime exposure duration health advisory levels (HALs) of 70 ng/L for each compound, or as a combined total when both are present.” Ohio EPA, PFAS – Technical Information and Supporting Documentation. Available at https://epa.ohio.gov/pfas#184345314-public-drinking-water.