Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Environmental Health

Environmental PFAS
Left Image Credit: L. Sander -- Right Image Credit: Adobe Stock

NIST is currently working to develop and expand our coverage of environmental matrices to include those which may impact human health or contribute to exposure. NIST researchers are also exploring other environmental matrices to develop future reference materials. 

To see a full list of available NIST SRMs including environmental matrices,  see the NIST SRM Website. For more information, or if you have specific environmental matrices of interest, contact pfas [at] (pfas[at]nist[dot]gov) 

PFAS in Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Reference Material Suite

Aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) containing PFAS have been used for many years to fight fires and for training to fight fires. As a source of PFAS in the environment, AFFFs are known to contain a variety of PFAS with unique structures and high concentrations. Scientists at NIST have developed a suite of AFFF with PFAS of varying concentrations and structure to provide quality control materials for laboratories to use when measuring AFFF-contaminated environmental samples. For more information, please read about our new materials.

PFAS in Drinking Water Reference Material

Drinking water is recognized as the greatest source of PFAS exposure for the general population. New regulations and limits at the national and state level are emerging and are in flux with growing toxicological data and interest. However, no current NIST material exists for PFAS in drinking water. To address the needs of regulators, analytical laboratories with commercial capabilities, and researchers working on PFAS among other stakeholders, NIST is developing a new reference material for PFAS at low levels (parts per trillion) in municipal drinking water.

PFAS in Archived Marine Samples

PFAS are global contaminants bioaccumulating in marine species such as whales, turtles and polar bears.  Monitoring PFAS concentrations in archived specimens over time gives an indication of how certain PFAS concentrations change in response to regulation or increase use.  NIST has leveraged the NIST Biorepository which contain a systematically sampled and archived collection of marine mammal  and sea turtle tissues stored at cryogenic temperatures to examine trends of PFAS in selected species.

Created September 13, 2022, Updated July 28, 2023