Perfluorochemicals (PFCs)

Black and white chemical structure of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Structure of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
CAS Number: various

Perfluorochemicals are used to make various products resistant to oil, stains, grease, and water.

Download: 
PFCsFactSheet.pdf

Fact Sheet

PFCs are found in

  • Some foods, such as some red meat and packaged snacks like potato chips.  It is not yet known which foods might regularly contain PFCs.
  • Certain grease-repellent paper food containers, such as some microwave popcorn bags, take-out boxes, or fast-food wrappers.
  • Stain-resistant carpets and some carpet cleaning solutions.
  • Stain-, water-, and wrinkle-resistant fabrics and some stain- and water-repellent sprays.
  • Most non-stick cookware.

Possible health concerns of PFCs

Scientists are still studying how PFCs might affect people’s health.  There is concern that some PFCs:

  • May affect the developing fetus and child, including possible changes in growth, learning, and behavior.
  • May decrease fertility and interfere with the body's natural hormones.
  • May affect the immune system.
  • May increase cancer risk.

Possible ways to reduce exposure to PFCs

Scientists are not sure how best to reduce exposure to PFCs. However, you can:

  • Limit how often you eat foods from grease-repellent paper containers.
  • Avoid buying stain-resistant carpets.
  • Avoid buying products labeled stain-resistant, water-resistant, or wrinkle-free, such as some fabrics, furniture, or clothes.
  • Avoid using sprays and carpet cleaning solutions that contain PFCs.
  • Because PFCs can come out of products and collect in dust, wash your hands often, especially before eating and preparing food, clean your floors regularly, and use a damp cloth to dust.

For More Information: 

Biomonitoring California Information

Documents, Presentations, and Publications: 

  • Potential Designated Chemicals: Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) | Scientific document | 03/03/2015: PotenDesigPFASs_031315.pdf
  • Presentation: Potential Designated Chemicals: Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) | Presentation | 03/13/2015: PFASs_031315.pdf

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