What are Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals characterized by a strong bond between fluorine and carbon. Because of this strong bond, PFAS provide resilience and durability. These properties are critical to the performance of hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products such as carpeting, apparels, upholstery, food paper wrappings, wire and cable coatings and in the manufacturing of semiconductors.
Learn more about industrial uses of PFAS
What is PFOS?
One chemical in the group of PFAS is perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOS is one of the most extensively produced and studied among PFAS chemicals. Small amounts of PFOS were historically used by the plating industry as part of a recommended practice to effectively control air emissions of chromium.
Additional Background Information on PFAS
Is PFOS still manufactured in the U.S.?
No. PFOS is no longer manufactured in the U.S. By 2002, the primary U.S. manufacturer of PFOS had voluntarily phased out its production because it was found in human populations and in wildlife. PFOS also is no longer used by the plating industry in the U.S.
Although PFOS is no longer manufactured in the U.S., it is still produced internationally and may be imported into the U.S. in some consumer goods. PFOS also may be found in firefighting foam for flammable liquid fires that was manufactured years ago.
What are the major concerns about PFOS?
PFOS has been extensively evaluated in humans and laboratory animals. Health effects in laboratory animals exposed to very high levels of PFOS have been observed. The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations.
More information on health effects can be found here.