PFAS Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFAS?
Per-/Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of human-made chemicals that can be found in nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food packaging, and firefighting foams. PFAS have been used in a variety of industries since the 1940s.

Are PFAS harmful to health?
We are still learning about the health effects of PFAS; private, state and federal research and health agencies are working on it right now. PFOA and PFOS (specific PFAS) have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both are very persistent in the environment and in the human body—meaning they don’t break down and they accumulate over time with exposure. Long-term exposure to certain PFAS compounds has been associated with adverse health effects, including developmental issues, immune system dysfunction, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Lower levels of PFAS do not pose a significant health risk based on available scientific information.

Are PFAS present in our water supply?
Los Angeles County Waterworks Districts (LACWD) regularly samples our water supply for PFAS. So far, only low-levels have been found in a few specific regions. No regions have reached more than the California State Water Board Division of Drinking Water’s response level for each PFAS. Any detections will be reported in our annual water quality report, also known as our annual consumer confidence report.

What regulation for PFAS exists?
Drinking water regulations for PFAS are still being established. However, the California State Water Board Division of Drinking Water has established Notification Levels and Response Levels for certain PFAS. Notification Levels are health-based advisory levels at which PFAS do not pose a significant health risk based on available scientific information (according to the California Health and Safety Code). Response Levels are action-based advisory levels, which require water systems to take one of the following actions:
  1. Take the source out of service
  2. Utilize treatment or blending, or
  3. Provide public notification

Is there anything currently unknown about PFAS?
We are closely following the emerging research about PFAS and public health, and any updates will be made to this webpage. Researchers across the country are working hard to answer critical questions about PFAS, including but not limited to how to better and more efficiently detect and measure PFAS in our water, how harmful PFAS are to people and the environment, how to remove PFAS from drinking water, and how to manage and dispose of PFAS.

Do I need a water filter or any type of additional filtration for PFAS?
The water we deliver to your home meets all federal and state standards for drinking water and is safe to drink. If you are still concerned, you may want to consider a filter. You can have your water tested at your local health department.

Should I drink bottled water?
It isn’t necessary to buy bottled water for health reasons.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires bottled water quality standards to be equal to those of the EPA for tap water, but the quality of the finished product is not monitored by the government and therefore not guaranteed over the shelf life of the bottle. Some of the largest bottled water distributors use municipal water as their source.

What is being done to protect public health from PFAS within LACWD?
We are continuously monitoring PFAS at certain wells based on their proximity to airports, U.S. Department of Defense sites, landfills, and other sources with known PFAS detections. We will continue to monitor the situation closely. We have not come close to exceeding any Response Levels for PFAS. Although no action has been required, we may consider treatment in the future if PFAS levels are detected at elevated levels. We closely follow new information developed by research and health agencies on PFAS, and all emerging contaminants, to ensure your health.

We are closely following the emerging research about PFAS and public health, and any updates will be made to this webpage. For more information, please contact or customer service at (877) 637-3661.

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