How are we exposed to PFAS?

The major routes of exposure to PFAS are:

  • drinking water contaminated by PFAS;
  • eating fish caught from water contaminated by PFAS;
  • accidentally swallowing contaminated soil or dust.


Additionally, limited exposure may occur from consumer products:

  • eating food that was packaged in material that contains PFAS; and
  • using some consumer products* that contain PFAS.

*Research has shown that today's consumer products usually have low amounts of PFAS, especially when compared to levels found in contaminated drinking water. However, small exposures to PFAS are possible when a person comes in contact with or uses products such as:

  1. some grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes and candy wrappers;
  2. nonstick cookware;
  3. stain resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery and other fabrics;
  4. water resistant clothing;
  5. cleaning products;
  6. personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup); and
  7. paints, varnishes and sealants.

If you have questions or concerns about products you use in your home, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772.

Show All Answers

1. What are PFAS?
2. Are PFAS regulated by the federal or state government?
3. I keep hearing different numbers referenced for Wisconsin’s PFOA and PFOS drinking water advisories. What does this mean for me, and how do I keep my family safe?
4. What are the health effects of PFAS?
5. How are we exposed to PFAS?
6. How can I reduce my exposure?
7. Should I be worried about dermal (skin) exposure to PFAS?
8. Can I use my tap water for typical household activities?
9. How can I safely feed an infant?
10. Can a medical test show whether I’ve been exposed to PFAS?
11. What is the average amount of PFAS in a person's blood?
12. Who can I contact about health questions related to PFAS?
13. Other Resources for PFAS Information