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The PFAS research team at Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Institute (SSEHRI) is currently conducting a multi-year study on PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) as an emerging class of contaminants, while specifically investigating the social discovery surrounding episodes of contamination. As the project progresses and data is collected from contamination sites around the world, a Google document will be updated as new information becomes available and additional sites are discovered.

The PFAS Contamination Site Tracker records qualitative and quantitative data from each site in a chart, specifically examining discovery, contamination levels, government response, litigation, and health impacts. All data presented in the chart were extracted from government websites, such as state health departments or the Environmental Protection Agency, and news articles. We ask for your additions to be sent to

Discovery: The chart documents the date of discovery and the source of discovery, giving specifics, when available, on where samples were initially taken and the parties responsible for sampling. Activity at a site suspected or reported to be the source of contamination is documented as well in a separate column.

Contamination Details: Five columns document specific water sampling sites that yielded positive results. PFAS is a class of chemicals that includes PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid), PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) and PFHxA (perfluorohexanoic acid). PFOA and PFOS each constitute a column, as they are the most commonly found and potent PFASs at contamination sites. Other PFASs are entered if present in an additional column. When possible, a combined measure of all contaminants is recorded. All measurements are presented in  parts per trilion (ppt), a.k.a. nanograms per liter (ng/L).

Government Response: The document also records government actions taken or statements given regarding a contamination event, specifically looking at water treatment and alternative water sources provided to residents. This may include installing carbon filtration systems, delivering bottled water to homes, extending a municipal line to affected homes, or purchasing water from unaffected neighboring municipalities.

Important Terminology & Abbreviations

PFC: Perfluorinated Chemicals
PFAS: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances
PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic Acid
PFOS: Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid
PFBA: Perfluorobutanoic Acid
PFBS: Perfluorobutanesulfonic Acid
PFDA: Perfluorodecanoic Acid
PFHpA: Perfluoroheptanoic Acid
PFHpS: Perfluoroheptanesulfonate
PFHxA: Perfluorohexanoic Acid
PFHxDA: Perfluorohexadecanoic Acid
PFHxS: Perfluorohexane Sulfonate
PFNA: Perfluorononanoic Acid
PFPeA: Perfluoro-n-pentanoic Acid
PFTeA: Perfluorotetradecanoic Acid
AFFF: Aqueous Film Forming Foam (firefighting foam)
TCE: Trichloroethylene
DES: Department of Environmental Services
DEP: Department of Environmental Protection
DEC: Department of Environmental Conservation
DoH: Department of Health
DoD: Department of Defense
EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
EPA PHA: Environmental Protection Agency Public Health Advisory
ATSDR: Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
UCMR: Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
Superfund: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
NYT: New York Times
EWG: Environmental Working Group