PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid)

What is PFOA?

PFOA is a manufactured chemical that belongs to a group of chemicals used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions, and repel oil, stains, grease and water. These chemicals are widely found in nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and fabrics, water repellant clothing, paper and cardboard food packaging and fire-fighting foam.

PFOA does not break down easily and therefore persists for a very long time in the environment, especially in water. Its toxicity and persistence in the environment means it is a potential danger to human health and the environment.

PFOA Contamination Response and Information

Blood Test Clinics

Blood Testing Clinics
The Health Department, with support from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, has conducted PFOA blood draw clinics as part of the State of Vermont's response to PFOA contamination of drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington.

In late July 2016, the Health Department mailed results to each person who took part in the blood testing clinics.

Fact Sheets and Information

Community Information and Water Testing

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation provides information for impacted communities, and for getting your drinking water tested

For Help or More Information

Dial 2-1-1 with general questions or concerns about PFOA contamination and response, or to request a water test.

For questions about potential health effects of PFOA:
Call the Vermont Department of Health toll-free at 800-439-8550.

Information for Health Care Professionals

About the State's Investigation and Response

Chemfab operated in North Bennington from 1970 through 2000, when it was purchased by Saint-Gobain. The Vermont facility closed in 2002 and moved to New Hampshire. The facility primarily applied PTFE (Teflon) coatings to fiberglass fabrics by dip-coating the fabrics in a liquid bath of micron size PTFE particles and various additives (likely including PFOA) followed by ovens to dry and melt the Teflon onto the fabric.

PFOA is used in the production of Teflon, which may contain residual PFOA in the final product. PFOA also has uses as a surfactant and dispersant in various products, including application of Teflon to fabrics and wires.

Following news in early 2016 of PFOA-contaminated municipal water wells in Hoosick Falls, New York, and concerns about the former Chemfab property in North Bennington, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation sampled five private drinking water wells and the No. Bennington municipal water supply for perfluorinated compounds and volatile organic compounds. The five wells tested showed the presence of perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA) at concentrations above the Vermont Department of Health’s drinking water health advisory level of 20 parts per trillion (ppt). Volatile organic contaminants were not detected in any of the samples.

The State of Vermont's investigation and response continues, and includes testing in additional areas of the state.

For more information, including about the testing, public meetings, and related non-health aspects of the state's actions, visit the Department of Environmental Conservation PFOA Website.

Exposure and Health Studies

PFOA Exposure & Health Studies - C8 Health Project

From 2005 to 2013 a series of epidemiologic (exposure and health) studies were conducted on almost 70,000 individuals in West Virginia who had drinking water that was contaminated with PFOA. The goal of the project was to assess the links between PFOA (commonly referred to as C8) and a number of diseases.

Page updated: 07/26/2016

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