PFAS Contamination in Biscayne Bay, Florida: A Cause for Concern

by Jenn Zappier on Nov 21, 2023

PFAS Contamination in Biscayne Bay, Florida: A Cause for Concern

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as "forever chemicals," are a group of man-made chemicals that are resistant to degradation and can accumulate in the environment. These chemicals are found in a wide range of products, including nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, failing septic systems, wash off airport runways, farm fields, and firefighting foam.



Sources of PFAS Contamination

PFAS can enter Biscayne Bay through a variety of sources, including:
  • Sewage treatment plants: PFAS are not effectively removed by wastewater treatment processes and can be discharged into waterways.
  • Stormwater runoff: PFAS from contaminated surfaces, such as roads and parking lots, can be washed into waterways during rain events.
  • Atmospheric deposition: PFAS can be transported over long distances in the atmosphere and deposited onto land and water surfaces.


sources of forever chemicals


PFAS Risks to the Environment and Human Health

PFAS have been linked to a number of adverse health effects, including:
  • Immune system suppression: PFAS can weaken the immune system, making people more susceptible to infections.
  • Liver damage: PFAS can damage the liver, increasing the risk of liver disease.
  • Reproductive problems: PFAS can interfere with hormone production and can lead to reproductive problems, such as infertility.
  • Cancer: PFAS have been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including kidney cancer and testicular cancer.

    Current PFAS Regulations and Recommendations

    There are currently no federal regulations for PFAS in drinking water. However, some states have set their own advisory levels. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering setting a national drinking water standard for PFAS.

    People can reduce their exposure to PFAS by taking the following steps:

    • Avoid products that contain PFAS: Look for products that are labeled as "PFAS-free."
    • Filter your drinking water: A reverse osmosis filtration system can remove PFAS from drinking water.
    • Eat less fish: PFAS can accumulate in fish, so it is important to limit your intake of fish, especially fish from contaminated waterways.


    PFAS contamination is a serious environmental and public health concern. More research is needed to fully understand the health effects of PFAS exposure. In the meantime, people can take steps to reduce their exposure to these chemicals.