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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetically made organofluorine chemical compounds. These compounds were originally introduced to the public as an additive to make nonstick cookware, but they were quickly incorporated into all sorts of other products. Commonly known as "forever chemicals", many PFAS compounds do not break down in the environment and there is increasing evidence showing that PFAS exposure can lead to adverse human health.

In particular, certain members of this chemical class readily leach from soil into water such as compounds containing carboxylic acids (such as PFOA) or sulfonic acids (such as PFOS) which can move through ground water, and ultimately, into our bodies. Research has shown that exposure to these compounds leads to many harmful effects on the body, including liver damage, kidney cancer, and thyroid disease. Increasingly, many regulatory agencies like the EPA are recommending PFAS testing in water. In response, various organizations have developed regulations for the levels of PFAS compounds in various matrices - the most important being drinking water.

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