COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – From clothing and cooking utensils to air and soil, PFA substances are water-repellent chemicals found everywhere. While they’ve provided useful properties for consumers, it’s now come to the attention of health experts that they’ve been putting people and the environment at risk.

“The EPA has stated that approximately 80% of a person’s exposure to PFAS comes from consumer goods,” said Jennifer Hughes, chief at the Bureau of Water at DHEC. 

On Monday the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control addressed where it’s most important to be mindful of PFAS – drinking water.

“PFAS are in water but they don’t start out in water, they are man-made chemicals and they get there because of their use in certain manufacturing processes and products and also consumer goods,” said Fran Marshall, director of Environmental Public Health at DHEC.

Over the course of 3 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has been crafting a response to these forever chemicals. Their first announcement will come soon and in the meantime, South Carolina said they are ready.

“We began hearing that the (Third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule) laboratory detection limits were not low enough and that new lab methods had lower detection limits and if we were not finding PFAS in our state then we are not looking at low enough detection levels,” said Doug Kinard, director of drinking water protection division at DHEC.

DHEC is reassuring South Carolinians that while PFAS aren’t going anywhere, officials are actively preparing for the impact. This includes educating everyone on what these chemicals are and where they can be found.

DHEC said this meeting is just the first in a series of briefings they’ll be holding over the coming weeks that will outline their plan once the announcement from the EPA is out. If you’d like to learn more, click here.