PFAS Exchange
What's My Exposure?
 
Have you had your drinking water or blood tested for PFAS? Do you need help interpreting your results? Use What’s My Exposure to better understand what your results mean. Our online tool will create a personalized report that shows how your levels compare with state and federal health guidelines, provides information on health effects, and shares tips for reducing your exposures.

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How to use this tool

Follow these step-by-step instructions to create personalized exposure reports based on your PFAS test results. Use the tabs above to navigate between entering your test results, viewing your reports, and sharing feedback with us. Your results will remain anonymous: we will not store or save your data when you use this tool. Read more about how we protect your privacy here

Step 1: Find your PFAS test results. You may have received these from your local public water utility or a blood testing program. With this tool, you will be able to create separate reports for either blood or water results, or for both.

Step 2: Look for the following three things on your test results:

    • the name of the chemical that was tested for (for example, PFNA, PFOS, PFOA)
    • the level of the chemical that was found (usually called “result”)
    • the units of the test result (for example, ng/L or ppt)

Step 3: Enter your data in the "Enter your test results" tab of this tool, and click "Generate Report".

If you need further help or have questions, please visit the FAQs tab

Step 4: We would like to interview you about your experience using this tool -- what you liked and how we can make it better! 

Get Started!


 

Enter your test results

Enter your test results on this page to generate your personalized exposure report. Remember to enter all results on your report! You may not have data from all the PFAS chemicals in the drop-down list; if so, don't worry, you will be able to create a report from the data you have. Please visit the FAQ tab to see answers to common questions. You can also contact the PFAS Exchange team at 617-332-4288, ext. 230 or email us at pfas-reach@silentspring.org

 

PFAS Exchange


Advanced options (coming soon)


Information from your water report


PFOA (in water) -- Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOS (in water) -- Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid

PFHxS (in water) -- Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid

PFNA (in water) -- Perfluorononanoic acid

PFBS (in water) -- Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid

PFHpA (in water) -- Perfluoroheptanoic acid

Information from your blood report


PFOA (in blood) -- Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOS (in blood) -- Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid

PFHxS (in blood) -- Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid

PFNA (in blood) -- Perfluorononanoic acid






A note about units

The levels of PFAS in drinking water and blood samples are reported with a numerical value and a unit of measure. Different labs may report PFAS levels using different units. You should enter your results exactly as shown on your report, and our tool will make any necessary conversions.

Common units used in lab reports:

  • parts per billion, or ppb
  • parts per trillion, or ppt
  • micrograms per liter, or μg/L
  • nanograms per liter, or ng/L
  • nanograms per milliliter, or ng/mL

1 ppb = 1 μg/L = 1 ng/mL = 1,000 ppt = 1,000 ng/L

About your water report

This report includes interactive graphs and information based on your results to help you understand your exposure to PFAS. The graphs show the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guideline level for PFOS and PFOA (two of the most common PFAS found in drinking water), guidelines from your state (if any), and the lowest state guidelines available for each chemical or combination of chemicals. When guidelines for multiple PFAS chemicals are available, the report sums your results so that you can directly compare your results to these guidelines. The report also compares your results to data from a representative sampling of 25 public water supplies across the U.S.

What are the sources of PFAS?

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of water-, heat-, and oil-resistant chemicals. There are currently more than 4,700 different PFAS chemicals on the global market, making them among the most ubiquitous synthetic chemicals in the world. They are found in a wide range of consumer products including stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, waterproof clothing, floor waxes, nonstick cookware, greaseproof food packaging, and even some dental floss. They are also found in certain firefighting foams that are commonly used at military bases, airports, and other fire training areas. Potential sources of PFAS into the environment include firefighting foams, industrial discharges, wastewater from homes and businesses, landfills, and land disposal of sewage sludge. 

How are PFAS regulated in drinking water?

Currently, there are no federal drinking water standards for any PFAS chemicals. This means that public water supplies do not have to test or treat their water for PFAS under federal law. The EPA has issued a non-enforceable guideline for two of the most common PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA. Some states have issued health guidelines that are stricter than the EPA guideline, and some states have proposed or established enforceable standards. For more information about drinking water guidelines, read the fact sheet in our Resources center. And for up-to-date information on the rapidly changing landscape of state guidelines and standards, check out the Safer States bill tracker.

Why are PFAS a health concern?

Over 99% of Americans have PFAS in their blood. Because of their strong chemical bonds, the synthetic chemicals persist in our bodies and in the environment and don’t break down easily. Some PFAS chemicals are difficult to excrete and can stay in the body for years. Because of their persistence and because exposures are so widespread, scientists are concerned about potential health impacts.

Studies in animals and humans have linked exposure to PFAS with numerous health effects including high cholesterol, liver damage, decreased vaccine response in children, various cancers (testicular, kidney, liver, and pancreatic), delayed mammary gland development, thyroid disruption, and effects on growth and development. PFOA and PFOS are the two most well-studied PFAS chemicals. However, new research suggests other types of PFAS have similar health effects. Scientists’ understanding of PFAS is expanding rapidly as these chemicals are the target of significant new research and regulation.

How can I reduce my exposure to PFAS?

Treat your water

If your water has elevated levels of PFAS, you may want to consider home water treatment. There are two types of common home water treatment systems that can remove PFAS from drinking water. Activated carbon filters are effective at removing PFOA, PFOS, and some other PFAS chemicals. Activated carbon systems include solid carbon block filters (typically a filter under your sink) and granular activated carbon filters (as in a filter pitcher). Another option is a reverse osmosis system, which can remove a wider range of PFAS chemicals. However, reverse osmosis is the more expensive option and produces a significant amount of waste water. When choosing a filtering system, look for one that is NSF P473 certified, or meets the NSF/ANSI 53 standard for activated carbon filters and the NSF/ANSI 58 standard for reverse osmosis. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the cartridges or membranes as recommended.

Avoid products with PFAS

In addition to treating your water, there are steps you can take to limit your personal exposure to PFAS at home and work. Understanding what kinds of products contain PFAS can help you learn how to avoid them. 

Common sources of PFAS in consumer products include:

  • Greaseproof food packaging
  • Stain-resistant carpeting and upholstery
  • Waterproof apparel
  • Wrinkle-free clothing
  • Glide dental floss
  • Non-stick cookware
  • Ski waxes

Common sources of PFAS at work include:

  • Manufacturing and production of PFAS-containing consumer products
  • Plating facilities in auto manufacturing
  • Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF)
  • Firefighter turnout gear
  • Floor waxes

Get involved and stay educated 

There are also steps you can take at the community level to prevent PFAS from ending up in our environment in the first place. Ask your elected officials to support legislative action on PFAS—restrictions on PFAS in consumer products and remediation of contaminated sites. Let retailers know that want products made without PFAS. Encourage your workplace or local government to adopt policies on avoiding harmful chemicals in their purchasing.

Read more about how to reduce exposure to PFAS chemicals at home and in your community by visiting our Resources page. Connect with others in your community who are advocating to protect drinking water using our Community Map tool.

What are the sources of PFAS?

PFAS are a class of extremely persistent chemicals often found in the environment. They are used in many consumer products, including stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, waterproof clothing, floor waxes, nonstick cookware, greaseproof food packaging, and even some dental floss. They are also found in certain firefighting foams used at military bases, airports, and fire training areas. Read more...

How are PFAS regulated in drinking water?

In 2016, the US EPA issued a non-enforceable guideline for two PFAS chemicals (PFOS and PFOA), but currently there are no federal standards regulating PFAS in drinking water. Some states have issued their own guidelines and standards that are stricter than the EPA’s guideline. Read more... 

Why are PFAS a health concern?

Studies have linked exposure to PFAS with numerous health effects including high cholesterol, liver damage, decreased vaccine response in children, various cancers (testicular, kidney, liver, and pancreatic), delayed mammary gland development, thyroid disruption, and effects on growth and development. Nearly all Americans (98%) have PFAS in their blood. Read more... 

How can I reduce my exposure to PFAS?

Treat your water

If your tap water has elevated levels of PFAS, learn more about home treatment options. Activated carbon and reverse osmosis are two common types of home filtration systems that can remove PFAS from drinking water. Read more... 

Avoiding PFAS at home and at work

PFAS are widely used in consumer products, but PFAS-free alternatives are often available. Selecting products that do not contain PFAS is one way to reduce your family's exposure. Read more...

Get involved in your community

Ask your elected officials to support legislative action on PFAS, or tell retailers you want products made without PFAS. Connect with others in your community who are advocating for clean drinking water using our Community Map tool. Read more... 

 

 

 

About Your Exposure Report

This report includes interactive graphs and information based on your results to help you understand your exposure to PFAS. The graphs show how you compare with the average American and those with the highest levels. These levels are measured in the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We also compare the level of PFAS in your blood to results from testing of communities in your state with PFAS contamination of drinking water supplies, where available. 

More about your exposure report 

This report shows how the levels of PFAS in your blood compare to typical Americans and to residents of communities in your state that have had elevated exposures from contaminated drinking water. Some graphs also show how your levels compare to a target human serum level. If your test results are below this level, health effects from PFAS are unlikely, based on studies of laboratory animals. If your test results are above this level, that does not necessarily mean that your health will be harmed by your PFAS exposure. Many health effects have been linked to PFAS exposures, and people with higher exposures are at greater risk for certain health outcomes. However, it is difficult to link a blood result to increased likelihood of any one type of disease. Scientists continue to learn more about the links between PFAS exposures and health outcomes. In particular, the health effects of many PFAS chemicals have not yet been studied, and the effects of common PFAS mixtures are also poorly understood. 

Our team is developing resources for medical monitoring of potential health outcomes associated with PFAS exposure. Stay tuned for information about which conditions to monitor and how to talk to your doctor about your PFAS exposure.

What are the sources of PFAS?

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a class of water-, heat-, and oil-resistant chemicals. There are currently more than 4,700 different PFAS chemicals on the global market, making them among the most ubiquitous synthetic chemicals in the world. They are found in a wide range of consumer products including stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, waterproof clothing, floor waxes, nonstick cookware, greaseproof food packaging, and even some dental floss. They are also found in certain firefighting foams that are commonly used at military bases, airports, and other fire training areas. Potential sources of PFAS into the environment include firefighting foams, industrial discharges, wastewater from homes and businesses, landfills, and land disposal of sewage sludge.   

How are PFAS regulated in drinking water?

Currently, there are no federal drinking water standards for any PFAS chemicals. This means that public water supplies do not have to test or treat their water for PFAS under federal law. The EPA has issued a non-enforceable guideline for two of the most common PFAS chemicals, PFOS and PFOA. Some states have issued health guidelines that are stricter than the EPA guideline, and some states have proposed or established enforceable standards. For more information about drinking water guidelines, read the fact sheet in our Resources center. And for up-to-date information on the rapidly changing landscape of state guidelines and standards, check out the Safer States bill tracker.

Why are PFAS a health concern?

Over 99% of Americans have PFAS in their blood. Because of their strong chemical bonds, the synthetic chemicals persist in our bodies and in the environment and don’t break down easily. Some PFAS chemicals are difficult to excrete and can stay in the body for years. Because of their persistence and because exposures are so widespread, scientists are concerned about potential health impacts.

Studies in animals and humans have linked exposure to PFAS with numerous health effects including high cholesterol, liver damage, decreased vaccine response in children, various cancers (testicular, kidney, liver, and pancreatic), delayed mammary gland development, thyroid disruption, and effects on growth and development. PFOA and PFOS are the two most well-studied PFAS chemicals. However, new research suggests other types of PFAS have similar health effects. Scientists’ understanding of PFAS is expanding rapidly as these chemicals are the target of significant new research and regulation.

How can I reduce my exposure to PFAS and protect my drinking water?

Treat your water

If your water has elevated levels of PFAS, you may want to consider home water treatment. There are two types of common home water treatment systems that can remove PFAS from drinking water. Activated carbon filters are effective at removing PFOA, PFOS, and some other PFAS chemicals. Activated carbon systems include solid carbon block filters (typically a filter under your sink) and granular activated carbon filters (as in a filter pitcher). Another option is a reverse osmosis system, which can remove a wider range of PFAS chemicals. However, reverse osmosis is the more expensive option and produces a significant amount of waste water. When choosing a filtering system, look for one that is NSF P473 certified, or meets the NSF/ANSI 53 standard for activated carbon filters and the NSF/ANSI 58 standard for reverse osmosis. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and replace the cartridges or membranes as recommended.

Avoid products with PFAS

In addition to treating your water, there are steps you can take to limit your personal exposure to PFAS at home and work. Understanding what kinds of products contain PFAS can help you learn how to avoid them. 

Common sources of PFAS in consumer products include:

  • Greaseproof food packaging
  • Stain-resistant carpeting and furniture
  • Waterproof apparel
  • Wrinkle-free clothing
  • Glide dental floss
  • Non-stick cookware
  • Ski waxes

Common sources of PFAS at work include:

  • Manufacturing and production of PFAS-containing consumer products
  • Plating facilities in auto manufacturing
  • Aqueous film forming foam (AFFF)
  • Firefighter turnout gear
  • Floor waxes

Get involved and stay educated

There are also steps you can take at the community level to prevent PFAS from ending up in our environment in the first place. Ask your elected officials to support legislative action on PFAS—restrictions on PFAS in consumer products and remediation of contaminated sites. Let retailers know that want products made without PFAS. Encourage your workplace or local government to adopt policies on avoiding harmful chemicals in their purchasing.

Read more about how to reduce exposure to PFAS chemicals at home and in your community by visiting our Resources page. Connect with others in your community who are advocating to protect drinking water using our Community Map tool.

What are the sources of PFAS?

PFAS are a class of extremely persistent chemicals often found in the environment. They are used in many consumer products, including stain-resistant carpets and upholstery, waterproof clothing, floor waxes, nonstick cookware, greaseproof food packaging, and even some dental floss. They are also found in certain firefighting foams used at military bases, airports, and fire training areas. Read more...

How are PFAS regulated in drinking water?

In 2016, the US EPA issued a non-enforceable guideline for two PFAS chemicals (PFOS and PFOA), but currently there are no federal standards regulating PFAS in drinking water. Some states have issued their own guidelines and standards that are stricter than the EPA’s guideline. Read more... 

Why are PFAS a health concern?

Studies have linked exposure to PFAS with numerous health effects including high cholesterol, liver damage, decreased vaccine response in children, various cancers (testicular, kidney, liver, and pancreatic), delayed mammary gland development, thyroid disruption, and effects on growth and development. Nearly all Americans (98%) have PFAS in their blood. Read more... 

How can I reduce my exposure to PFAS?

Treat your water

If your tap water has elevated levels of PFAS, learn more about home treatment options. Activated carbon and reverse osmosis are two common types of home filtration systems that can remove PFAS from drinking water. Read more... 

Avoid PFAS at home and at work

PFAS are widely used in consumer products, but PFAS-free alternatives are often available. Selecting products that do not contain PFAS is one way to reduce your family's exposure. Read more...

Get involved in your community

Ask your elected officials to support legislative action on PFAS, or tell retailers you want products made without PFAS. Visit our Community Map tool to connect with others in your community who are advocating for clean drinking water. Read more... 

 

FAQ

How do I use this tool?

Find your water or blood test results for PFAS, and look for three key pieces of information:

  • The name of the PFAS chemical
  • The result (level detected)
  • The unit of measurement of the level detected

See the example report below to give you an idea of where to look for these things on your report. We encourage you to enter data for as many PFAS chemicals that you have results for.

 

What will this tool offer me?

Often, when a person receives test results from a laboratory, it can be difficult to know what they mean and whether or not to be concerned. We designed this tool to help people interpret their test results by providing more context and information, including how your levels compare with others as well as federal and state guidelines, what are the sources and health effects of PFAS chemicals, and what you can do to reduce your exposure.

Do I need to have my own test results to get a report?

Yes. This tool will not generate new test results for you, but will offer more context and information to help you interpret the test results you may have received from a laboratory.

How do I input my test results?

We provide an online form for you to enter your test results for water, blood, or both. For each chemical in your results, select the type of PFAS that was detected, the level that was found, and choose the unit of measurement from the drop-down menu. When you have finished entering all the information for the chemicals listed in your results, click “Get my report” to generate your exposure report.

What do the units “ng/L” and “µg/L” mean for PFAS levels?

Levels of PFAS in water are generally reported in nanograms per liter ("ng/L"). For example, if the level of PFOS is 2 ng/L, that means there are 2 nanograms of PFOS in every liter of water. One nanogram is one billionth of a gram. For blood test results, levels are generally reported in micrograms per liter (“µg/L”). One microgram is one millionth of a gram.

What does “non-detect” mean?

If the words “not detected” are displayed next to a chemical (also reported “ND” or “<” followed by a number), then the amount of the chemical in your water or in your blood was below the lowest level that the laboratory can reliably measure. Each laboratory has its own detection limits. Being below the detection limit can either mean that the chemical is not present in your water sample, or that it is present at a low level that the laboratory could not detect.

What do my test results mean?

Your test results show how much PFAS were found in a sample of your drinking water or blood. The levels themselves cannot determine current or future health outcomes, and can change over time. In other words, they cannot tell you what this means in terms of your own health risks. For water, the information provided by our interpretation tool shows you how your results compare with drinking water guidelines and other water supplies. For blood, it shows you how your results compare with the average person, as well as levels measured in biomonitoring studies. Overall, the tool provides more context to help you understand your results so you can take steps to protect your health.

How do my results compare to others?

For water, we will compare your results to drinking water guidelines and water supplies across the US. For blood results, we will compare your PFAS levels to those of a typical American, as well as to those found in health studies of communities affected by PFAS-contaminated drinking water.

What are the next steps after receiving my exposure report?

Explore your report to learn more about the sources of PFAS, the health effects, and what you can do to reduce your exposure. The report also includes information on individual PFAS chemicals. You can read and download tip sheets on our Resources page, and check out other resources listed on that page. Use the Community map tool to find a community group in your area working on stronger environmental and health protection, and plug into a local effort on PFAS. If you need further help interpreting your results, feel free to reach out to us at pfas-reach@silentspring.org or call us at 617-332-4288, ext. 230.

Were my health issues caused by my exposure to PFAS?

It is very difficult to link a specific cancer or health condition to a specific chemical exposure. Exposure to harmful chemicals is one of many contributing factors in the development of cancer and other illnesses. In general, reducing your exposures to hazardous chemicals can reduce your risk of health problems.

Why am I higher in some PFAS chemicals than others?

Even though chemicals in the same group are often found in similar types of products, every product is composed of a unique mix of chemicals. You might be high in one chemical but low in other chemicals. In addition, different PFAS chemicals can move at different rates through groundwater.

How can I reduce my exposure from PFAS chemicals?

You can find tips for reducing exposures to PFAS chemicals in your report and on the Resources page. In addition to taking steps to reduce your personal exposures, you can take steps at the community level to protect public health, such as advocate for a drinking water standard or legislation to restrict the use of PFAS chemicals in products . You can also get involved with environmental health groups are working to strengthen policies and encourage companies to sell safer products.

Tell us about your experience! 

We’d like to interview you about your experience using this tool – what you liked and how we can make it better.

This phone interview will only take 10-15 minutes, and you’ll receive a $25 gift card.

To sign up, fill out this form. Questions? email pfas-reach@silentspring.org or call/text 617-600-8348.

Silent Spring Institute Northeastern University--Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute Michigan State University Toxics Action Center Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition Testing for PEASE