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What is the Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Testing Network (PFAST)?

The Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Testing (PFAST) Network is a collaborative statewide study among researchers located at higher education institutes across North Carolina. The scientists in our network are experts on PFAS, a class of anthropogenically-derived organic compounds that have raised concerns about their impact on human health and the environment.

For more than 60 years, PFAS have been used in the production of many industrial and consumer goods including aqueous film forming foams (AFFF), non-stick cookware, stain resistant materials, and cosmetics. The number of known PFAS currently stands near 15,000 and continues to grow. Their extensive application has led to the widespread detection of PFAS in the environment and in us. While PFAS are a global dilemma, these chemicals are also an issue right here in North Carolina.

Our Start

In 2016, researchers from the North Carolina State University and the United States Environmental Protection Agency detected elevated levels of GenX and other PFAS in the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The river is the major drinking water supply for many residents in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, thus exposing around 350,000 residents to high levels of PFAS.

After the discovery of PFAS in the drinking water supply, the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) took action to address rising concern about PFAS compounds and concentrations in North Carolina. The Water Safety Act provision in the 2018 budget provided the North Carolina Collaboratory with $5,013,000 for academic research, which was used to establish the NC PFAST Network.

The network leverages the expertise, analytical instrumentation and technology that exists in the public and private North Carolina higher education institutions to study PFAS toxicology, occurrence in drinking water, atmospheric transformations/occurrence and removal technologies.

Acknowledgment of Funding

The critical PFAS research and the efforts of the PFAS Testing Network have been made possible by additional appropriations from the NCGA in the 2021 and 2023 Water Safety Acts totaling nearly $38.5 million (see summary graphic below). In addition, since 2018 the Collaboratory has supplemented these projects with its discretionary research appropriations from the NCGA with approximately $2 million.

By the close of the current budget biennium (June 30, 2025), PFAS funding from the NCGA will total approximately $50 million. In its entirety, this investment represents the largest legislative funding commitment for PFAS academic research in the nation. All of these dollars do not expire (i.e., they do not revert back to the State’s General Fund at the end of each fiscal year) and remain available for PFAS research until expended. Even more importantly, the $4 million for PFAS funding in the 2023-2025 budget is a recurring appropriation (i.e., the Collaboratory will receive $4 million in PFAS research funding every year moving forward) that provides, for the first time in State history, forever funding to address forever chemicals.

The establishment and continued efforts of the NC PFAS Testing Network were made possible by the following provisions from the North Carolina General Assembly to the North Carolina Collaboratory:

Water Safety Act Provisions

2018: Funding to establish the NC PFAS Testing Network


Sections 13.1.(f) through (I) of SL 2018-5 (SL 2018-5)

2021: Additional appropriations support continued NC PFAS research and operations of the PFAS Testing Network


Sections 8.10.(a) through (g) of SL 2021-180 (SL 2021-180);
Edit Section 2.3 of SL 2021-189


Recurring Funding for AFFF Reporting Database

Provision 187 on Page B56 of the Money Report

2023: Funding to support PFAS-related research and development efforts with additional recurring funding


Sections 8.16.(a) through (g) of Session Law 2023-134
(Sl 2023-134)


Forever Funding for Forever Chemicals

Water Safety Act Provision References