PFAS are raining down on Lake Superior

By Pam Wright | Quetico Superior Foundation | June 8, 2024

Read the full article by Pam Wright (Quetico Superior Foundation)

"PFAS or Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances are raining down on Lake Superior, contaminating its waters. A recent study published in Environmental Science and Technology reveals that rain has played a large role in spreading PFAS into all five Great Lakes. Commonly found in household products such as cleaners or personal care products, the chemicals resist breaking down in the environment. For this reason, agencies at the state level are implementing stronger controls, clean-up guidelines, and monitoring measures.

What are PFAS?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PFAS are chemicals that resist grease, oil, water, and heat. Manufacturers first used them in the 1940s, and they now exist in hundreds of household products. These chemicals can enter the environment through various pathways, including rain, sewage water, and leaching from landfills. Due to their carbon-fluorine bond, they resist degradation.

Like microplastics, which were recently found in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), PFAS also adversely affect human and wildlife health. They have been linked to certain types of cancer, immune system challenges, and reproductive health issues. Even low levels of these chemicals can cause acute toxicity in fish."

This content provided by the PFAS Project.