Lois Wolfson, senior specialist, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Institute of Water Research What are PFAS chemicals? They are man-made toxic substances used in many industrial processes since the 1940s, including stain-resistant fabrics, nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and fire-fighting foams. They are now being found in Michigan soils, water, fish, wildlife and humans. Known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, these chemicals bioaccumulate and are nearly impossible to break down naturally. They’re now the target of state attention and action. What do we, the consumers, need to know?