The Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts has awarded $3 million in grants to 17 public water supply systems to support efforts to address elevated levels of so-called PFAS in drinking water.

PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in the manufacture of common consumer products and used in some firefighting foams. Drinking water may become contaminated if PFAS deposited onto the soil seeps into groundwater or surface water.

READ MORE: $13,000 Flute Left In Boston Taxi Cab Nearly A Decade Ago Returned To Owner

They have been linked to a variety of health risks, particularly in women who are pregnant or nursing, and in infants.

The grants from the state’s Clean Water Trust were awarded to water systems serving Abington and Rockland, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Cohasset, Danvers and Middleton, Dudley, Hopedale, Littleton, Mansfield and Foxborough, Millis, Natick, North Attleborough, Sudbury, Topsfield, Westborough, Westfield, and Woburn.

READ MORE: Brigham And Women's 'Hearts On The Bridge' Display Honors Lives Lost And Saved From COVID

The grants announced this past week will be used for expenses related to the design and planning of treatment systems that protect drinking water against PFAS.

In October, the state established a protective standard of 20 parts-per-trillion for PFAS in drinking water and required water systems to regularly test for the contaminants.

MORE NEWS: Worcester Police Shoot, Kill Heavily Armed Man Making Bomb Threat

(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)