Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of synthetic chemicals that have been widely used in various industries and consumer products.

These substances are characterized by their strong carbon-fluorine bonds, which make them highly resistant to heat, water, and oil.

PFAS our class of approximately 15,000 chemicals widely used in nonstick applications – cookware and food, packaging, water and stain resistant clothing, and carpets, and plastic production to coat items, such as bottles and process food containers.

PFAS are composed of a carbon chain where some or all of the hydrogen atoms are replaced by fluorine atoms.

The two main categories are perfluoroalkyl substances, where all hydrogens are replaced by fluorines (e.g., perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA), and polyfluoroalkyl substances, where some hydrogens remain (e.g., perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, PFHxS).

The carbon-fluorine bonds give PFAS unique properties, including water and oil repellency, temperature resistance, and friction reduction.

PFAS have been used in various products, such as non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, food packaging materials, firefighting foams, and various industrial processes.

PFAS are highly persistent in the environment and have been found in soil, water, and in the blood of humans and animals worldwide.

Some PFAS have been linked to adverse health effects, including developmental issues, increased cholesterol levels, and potential links to certain types of cancer.

Evidence linking multiple chemicals of this type with increase risk of adverse health outcomes: reduced fetal growth, dyslipidemia, decreased antibody response to vaccines, increased risk of kidney cancer, and some limited evidence of gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia, breast, testicular cancer, and thyroid dysfunction.

Due to concerns about their environmental and health impacts, some PFAS, such as PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), have been phased out or restricted in many countries.

However, there are thousands of other PFAS chemicals that are still in use or being introduced.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *