A new online map launched this week brings together information about known and suspected PFAS contamination sites across the United States with resources for affected communities and information about state action. This unique and interactive tool, called the PFAS Sites and Community Resources Map, was developed by the PFAS Project Lab at Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Institute (SSEHRI), Silent Spring Institute, and the PFAS-REACH team. This map is a new and improved version of the Community Resources map previously available on the PFAS Exchange website.

The PFAS Sites and Community Resources Map identifies 1,781 known sites of PFAS contamination based on the PFAS Project Lab’s PFAS Contamination Site Database. Additionally, we have identified 57,806 sites that are suspected of being contaminated, including current and former military sites, airports required to use PFAS-containing firefighting foam, industrial facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and railroad fire incidents. 

“This map brings together what we now know as all of the known and suspected sites of PFAS contamination in the U.S.,” says Dr. Phil Brown, co-director of the PFAS Project Lab co-director and Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University. “This truly paints a visual picture of how widespread PFAS contamination is across the country and how many communities are likely impacted,” adds Dr. Alissa Cordner, Associate Professor at Whitman College and co-director of the PFAS Project Lab.

In addition to mapping these known and suspected contamination locations, the map provides a nationwide portrait of PFAS advocacy groups, biomonitoring and health studies, and state action to show states that have enacted drinking water regulations and conducted PFAS testing. “We wanted to provide information not only on the extent of contamination in the U.S., but also highlight communities and states that are trying to do something about it,” says Dr. Laurel Schaider, Senior Scientist at Silent Spring Institute and lead investigator on PFAS-REACH. 

The map has interactive features that allow the user to explore more specific elements of contamination including detected PFAS levels and information about contamination at known sites, and details about types of facilities suspected of using or releasing PFAS in some way. The goal of this map is to educate and inform researchers, regulators, and community members to support the development of health-protective regulations, and to empower impacted communities to advocate for their health. 

“PFAS data can be hard to find and isn’t always presented in a format that is useful for impacted residents or decision-makers,” says Ricky Salvatore, lead research assistant working on the map and a student at Northeastern University. “We want this map to combine many different types of information in a user-friendly format.” 

About this project:

The PFAS Project Lab studies social, scientific, and political factors related to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We produce rigorous, accessible research about the PFAS contamination crisis through collaborations with impacted communities, leading interdisciplinary researchers, and nonprofits. We share this PFAS research with impacted communities and a broad range of other stakeholders.    https://pfasproject.com/ 

Silent Spring Institute is the leading scientific research organization dedicated to uncovering the links between chemicals in our everyday environment and women’s health, with a focus on breast cancer prevention. Founded in 1994, the institute is developing innovative tools to accelerate the transition to safer chemicals, while translating its science into policies that protect health.    https://www.silentspring.org/

PFAS-REACH is a multi-year project (PFAS Research, Education, and Action for Community Health) funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and is led by Silent Spring Institute in collaboration with Northeastern University and Michigan State University. The community partner organizations are Testing for Pease, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, and Community Action Works.   https://pfas-exchange.org/ 

Website Address: https://pfas-exchange.org/connecting-communities/

Contact information:

Dr. Phil Brown: p.brown@northeastern.edu, (617) 373-7407

Dr. Laurel Schaider: schaider@silentspring.org, (617) 332-4288 ext 224

Dr. Alissa Cordner: cordneaa@whitman.edu, (509) 527-5124