According to Minnesota Statute, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or “PFAS,” are a diverse group of fluorinated organic chemicals containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. These synthetic substances are known for their water- and grease-resistant properties and are widely used in both agricultural and non-agricultural applications. PFAS are extremely stable and do not break down readily in the environment. Because of this, there are significant concerns about how the use of PFAS-containing products can contaminate the environment and affect human and animal health. Research efforts to address these concerns are underway, both nationally and within Minnesota.
Frequently Asked Questions
PFAS are manufactured chemicals that have been in use for decades. Some examples of common consumer and industrial products that may contain PFAS include carpeting, upholstery, waterproof clothing, food packaging, cookware, and fire-fighting foam. PFAS can be released into the environment during the production, use, and disposal of PFAS-containing products.
In 2023, the Legislature passed two bills with significant language on PFAS, SF 1955 and HF 2310. These bills outline the process for prohibiting the sale and distribution of products containing intentionally added PFAS. The MDA and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will work in partnership to implement portions of these new laws. Minnesota’s PFAS Blueprint (pdf), developed by multiple state agencies, further identifies strategies for preventing, managing, and cleaning up PFAS found throughout the state.
In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has outlined a number of key actions to address PFAS. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is also taking steps to better understand PFAS in foods and food packaging, processing, and cookware. Read more about their work on their page for PFAS as environmental contaminants in food. The FDA has also worked with manufacturers to phase out production and use of certain food packaging products containing PFAS.
There are no established recommendations specific to consumption of meat, poultry, dairy, or eggs for avoiding PFAS exposure because there are no currently established safe tolerance levels for PFAS in these products. The MDH Fish Consumption Guidance, updated in July of 2023, sets water body specific safe-eating guidelines that take into consideration the presence of PFAS in different Minnesota lakes and rivers. More generally, the EPA offers information on meaningful and achievable steps you can take to reduce your risk from PFAS exposure.