What are Perfluoroalkyl Substances?
Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of man-made, highly fluorine chemicals, that are getting a lot of attention as emerging contaminants. Though there are nearly 4,800 different types of perfluoroalkyl substances, there are two that are commonly focused on because of their use in everyday household products: perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8, is a chemical compound with the molecular formula of C8HF15O2. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, also known as PFOS, is a chemical compound with the molecular formula of C8HF17O3S. Both are considered stable chemicals, comprised of 8 carbons. The stability of these carbons and fluorine atoms make them extremely persistent in the environment, and difficult to abate.
Where are Perfluoroalkyl Substances like PFOA and PFOS found?
PFOA and PFOS are industrial chemicals widely used, across the globe. Their known for their ability to repel water and other sticky substances, making them ideal for a number of different applications. Common applications include:
- As surface protection for items such as:
- Non-stick cookware
- Carpeting and rugs
- A component in the manufacturing of:
- Food and beverage packaging
- Personal hygiene goods like floss, waxes, and makeup
- Automotive parts and fabrics
- Consumer goods packaging
- Outdoor clothing and gear
- They are also commonly used in manufacturing facilities as:
- Wetting agents