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What Are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of human-made chemicals that were first used in the 1940s, followed in subsequent decades by the development of thousands of new PFAS chemistries. Manufacturing practices and widespread usage of PFAS products by consumers, government, and commercial entities have resulted in the low-level presence of PFAS in soil, surface water, groundwater, plants, and animals.

PFAS have been designated a public health concern by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and growing concern over potential toxicity and persistence of PFAS in the environment has led the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a multi-faceted scientific and regulatory approach to protect human and ecological health. 

The Department of Energy, led by the Office of Environment, Health, Safety, and Security, is working actively to assess and understand PFAS presence at DOE sites, and to take actions to manage risk. 

Our Commitment

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The Department of Energy is committed to the health and safety of the public and our workers and to protecting the environment.

Our goal is to protect human health and the environment in transparently assessing and addressing the presence of PFAS at DOE sites while deploying the Department’s scientific expertise to solve PFAS challenges.

DOE’s efforts to address PFAS are aligned with Department goals for safe, clean and thriving communities.  DOE recognizes its responsibilities to address the environmental legacy from its activities.

DOE will continue to engage with Federal and state regulators, local communities and tribes regarding PFAS at its sites. DOE is committed to collaboration and keeping stakeholders and the public informed about its activities related to PFAS.

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DOE Actions on PFAS

DOE Timeline

DOE PFAS Timeline

Goals and Objectives

All work at DOE begins with a fundamental commitment to protecting human health and the environment.  This commitment guides the Department’s approach to PFAS, which rests on four pillars and their associated goals.

The graphic of the four pillars represents the foundations of the Department’s approach to PFAS, including the goals of each: understanding PFAS; managing and protecting the health of employees, the public and the environment; leveraging the expertise of the DOE National Laboratories to enhance knowledge and develop solutions; and communicate and collaborate with regulators, tribal nations, local communities and stakeholders to ensure transparency on DOE’s PFAS progress.

PFAS Overview

DOE’s “Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Update” includes general information on PFAS, the Department’s PFAS mission statement, recent actions and ongoing efforts to address PFAS, additional PFAS resources and contact information.  

Click the image below to access the presentation.

DOE Resources

General Resources

Contact Us

Contact Us to ask a question or provide feedback.