The study found areas of highest exposure were near urban environments and potential PFAS sources.
The study found areas of highest exposure were near urban environments and potential PFAS sources. Credit: Chris Allen, BVN

Last Updated on August 9, 2023 by BVN

Aryana Noroozi

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently conducted a study that indicated PFAs (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances) are likely to be found in nearly half of the faucets in the U.S.  

PFAS, synthetic chemicals found in a variety of objects we utilize in daily life, including non-stick cookware and food containers, also known as “forever chemicals,” can cause cancer and other health conditions. 

The study was the first nationwide initiative of its kind. Testing for PFAS in tap water from both private and regulated sources across cities and rural towns, including private wells and public systems. 

The study found areas of  highest exposure were near urban environments  and potential PFAS sources, including Central/Southern California, the Great Plains, Great Lakes and Eastern Seaboard. The findings were consistent with prior research which indicated that urban areas had higher chances of PFAS exposure. The USGS estimates that the probability of PFAS not being found in tap water is about 75% in rural areas and around 25% in urban areas.  

A map of the U.S. shows the number of PFAS detected in tap water samples from select sites across the nation. The findings are based on a USGS study of samples taken between 2016 and 2021 from private and public supplies at 716 locations. The map does not represent the only locations in the U.S. with PFAS.   (Credit: The U.S. Geological Survey)

Last November California Governor Rob Bonta  filed a lawsuit against 20 PFAS manufacturers, including 3M, for endangering public health, causing irreparable harm to the state’s natural resources, and engaging in a widespread campaign to deceive the public in relation to their use of PFAS. The case is currently working its way through the judicial process. 

Recently, Bonta announced he is leading a coalition of 22 attorneys general in opposing a proposed class action settlement to hundreds of lawsuits filed by water suppliers against 3M over its use of PFAS. 

The USGS is a scientific research agency so it is unable to implement any policy recommendations. The Environmental Protection Agency regulates public water supplies, but says homeowners are responsible for the maintenance, testing and treatment of private water supplies. Those interested in testing and treating private wells should contact their local and state officials for guidance,” they wrote.

Black Voice News photojournalist Aryana Noroozi was born in San Diego, California and graduated with a master’s degree from The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her love for visual storytelling led her to document immigrant and deportee communities and those struggling with addiction. She was a 2020 Pulitzer Center Crisis Reporting Fellow and a GroundTruth Project Migration Fellow. She is currently a CatchLight/Report for America corps member employed by Black Voice News. You can learn more about her at You can email her at