Investigation of Levels of Perfluorinated Compounds in New Jersey Fish, Surface Water, and Sediment



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Trenton, N.J. : New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science, Research, and Environmental Health


Per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS) are used in the manufacture of useful products that impart stain resistance, water resistance, heat resistance and other desirable properties. PFAS are also used in various Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF) that are used in fire-fighting. These substances are in wide use today, found at industrial sites that use or manufacture them and at military bases, airports and other areas known for fire-fighting activities. A subset of PFAS, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), have fully fluorinated carbon chains as their backbone, and their extremely strong carbon-fluorine bonds makes them very resistant to degradation. When released to the environment, PFCs persist indefinitely and can travel distances from their source in surface water, groundwater, or in the atmosphere. PFAS are considered “emerging contaminants” because additional information on their presence and toxicity to ecosystems and humans continues to become available. The Division of Science, Research and Environmental Health (DSREH) performed an initial assessment of 13 PFAS, all of which are perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), at 11 waterways across the state. Fourteen surface water and sediment samples and 94 fish tissue samples were collected at sites along these waterways. The sites were selected based on their proximity to potential sources of PFAS and their likelihood of being used for recreational and fishing purposes. The sampling sites are located within Passaic, Middlesex, Ocean, Burlington, Gloucester, and Salem Counties.


Originally published June 18, 2018. Revised April 9, 2019.


New Jersey, Perfluorinated Compounds, Per- and polyfluorinated substances