Perfluorinated Chemicals

Harmful PFCs in drinking water and what it means for you.

PFOAs & PFOSs

Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) including Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) are used to make common household non-stick, water repellent, and stain resistant products like carpet, clothing, furniture fabric, food packaging, and cookware. They are also used in industrial processes and in fire fighting foam for use on airfields.
Contamination of drinking water usually occurs locally, near a facility where PFCs or products using them are manufactured, as well as around airfields where these chemicals were used to extinguish fires.
According to a news release from the Wausau Water Works, all six of the city's drinking water wells tested between 23 parts per trillion and 48 parts per trillion. The state's recommended standards are 20 parts per trillion. The Water Works serves 16,000 customers in the Wausau area, which is home to just under 40,000 residents. (Source)
The EPA established the combined PFOA and PFOS Health Advisory level at 70 parts per trillion. The total amount of any Perfluorinated chemical in drinking water (the total of PFOA, PFOS and all other PFCs) cannot exceed 70 parts per trillion. The Health Advisory for PFOA/PFOS refers to the amount of PFOA/PFOS contained in water that you could consume daily for 70 years without any adverse effects.
Adverse Effects related to Cumulative Exposure to PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water
  • Birth defects and developmental issues during pregnancy or for breastfed infants including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal formation issues
  • Cancer (testicular and kidney)
  • Liver tissue damage
  • Weakened immune system (antibody production and compromised immunity)
  • Thyroid hormone imbalances
  • Hypertension and High Cholesterol
Next Steps
Public water systems are required to notify consumers if water is contaminated. Consumers can also contact their local water supplier and ask for information on PFOA & PFOS in their drinking water and request a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report.
The Culligan® Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water System with a Total Defense Cartridge was tested in laboratory and field applications by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Water Quality Association and found to reduce Perfluorochemicals (PFC's) in water at levels typically found in drinking water. The Culligan® Whole Home System with dual carbon filters has been installed in over 300 homes and is proven to reduce Perfluorochemicals (PFC's) in water at levels typically found in well water. Contact your local Culligan Man™ with questions or for more information.
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