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Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) including Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) 

PFAS are a group of chemicals used to make a wide range of non-stick, stain-resistant, and waterproof coatings.  PFAS have been manufactured since the 1940s and can be found in clothing, food packaging, cookware, cleaning products, and firefighting foams. The concern with certain PFAS chemicals is that they generally do not biodegrade and therefore are inclined to build up in the environment and in people and animals. This has earned them the nickname “forever chemicals.”

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has found evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects such as cancer, liver effects, immunological effects, decreased birth weights, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, and cardiovascular disease. Due to these concerns, health advisories and regulatory limits for various PFAS chemicals in drinking water are being developed at both the state and federal level. These limits are updated continuously as more is learned about the prevalence and health effects of various PFAS chemicals. Please see this link for the most current information.

While consumer products and food are a large source of exposure to PFAS for most people, drinking water can be an additional source in the small percentage of communities where PFAS have contaminated water supplies. Such contamination is typically localized and associated with a specific facility - for example, an industrial facility where PFAS chemicals were produced or used to manufacture other products.

Highland Park’s drinking water has been tested by the City and by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) numerous times for various PFAS chemicals. There has been no detection of PFAS in Highland Park’s drinking water in any of the samples collected. More information regarding specific testing dates and results can be found here. In 2024-2025, Highland Park will perform quarterly testing over a 12 month period for 29 PFAS chemicals as part of the fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR) and the results will be published on our website as soon as they become available.

As always, residents with any water quality questions are encouraged to contact our Water Production Department at or 847.433.4355.