First created in the 1930s, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances include about 5,000 man-made chemicals used to make various types of everyday products. These chemicals, better known as PFAS, keep food from sticking to cookware, make clothes and carpets resistant to stains, and create firefighting foam that is more effective. For more information, see our Environmental Health Topics webpage on PFAS.
What is NIEHS doing?
NIEHS is supporting an aggressive program of research on human exposure to PFAS chemicals and the potential for PFAS exposure to cause harm to children’s cognitive and neurobehavioral development, immune system dysfunction, endocrine disruption, obesity, diabetes, lipid metabolism, and certain cancers.
There are many research-related activities underway throughout the institute:
- The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Studies: NTP conducts studies on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) as part of a larger effort to assess these chemicals. Read detailed descriptions of the studies and their findings.
- Grants for PFAS Research: NIEHS awards over $10 million in grants annually to more than 40 universities and research centers studying PFAS. Check out their current list of published studies.
- NIEHS-Supported PFAS Meetings and National PFAS Events: NIEHS-supported researchers share their findings on PFAS at events across the country. Check out some of the upcoming meetings and events.
- Other PFAS-Related Resources: Check out some of the PFAS-related stories in NIEHS’ newsletter, the Environmental Factor, along with more resources from our federal partners.
- Supported Publications on Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): NIEHS is supporting research on human health and exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Check out the searchable list of published scientific papers with the results of PFAS research that were supported by NIEHS.
NIEHS also works closely with other federal agencies. For example, the National Toxicology Program and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency together assess more than 140 PFAS across various subgroups. NIEHS partners with the Department of Defense to explore Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) mixture toxicology and explore possible alternatives. Finally, NIEHS works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on this study: Human health effects of drinking water exposures to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A multi-site cross-sectional study.