Health Risks of PFAS in Drinking Water
PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances)
PFAS are a group of manmade chemicals that have been manufactured in a variety of industries around the globe. Exposure to levels of PFAS above health advisory guidelines has been linked to health problems including:
- Liver damage
- Thyroid disease
- Decreased fertility
- Lower birth weight
- High blood pressure
Some PFAS persist in the environment, and people can be exposed to these chemicals through air, indoor dust, food, drinking water, and various consumer products.
Fortunately, based on testing data obtained from our community drinking water systems, we don’t have any treated drinking water that has the chemicals above the EPA’s health advisory.
Identifying PFAS in Groundwater in Boulder County
The extent of PFAS in groundwater in Boulder County is unknown. However, some private drinking water wells for homes in the Sugarloaf Fire Protection District and the Boulder Mountain Fire District have tested above the EPA’s health advisory, most likely due to historical use of firefighting foams that contain PFAS. To further explore other areas of possible contamination, Boulder County Public Health is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to conduct additional private well water testing.
The eleven areas shown in the map have been identified as areas to further explore whether PFAS contamination is present and at what levels.
Free Private Well Testing
Free well testing for PFAS is available to homeowners living in these areas of Boulder County.
To qualify, the home:
- Must be in one of the identified areas shown in the map, AND
- Must have a private well
If you do not live within one of the designated study areas on the map and are interested in having your private well tested for PFAS in the future, there will be additional sampling opportunities through Senate Bill 20-218 funding. The Senate Bill 20-218 grant program is still in development and information will be available on the CDPHE website in the near future.
Learn more about PFAS:
Boulder County Public Health is a government entity subject to the requirements of the Colorado Open Records Act. Test results will be shared with well owner, but Boulder County Public Health will not provide personal protected information such as well owner name, well location or well permit number to the public. C.R.S. 24-72-204(2)(a)(IX).