Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs)

Chemical structure of an example PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Example PFAS: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
CAS Number: various

PFASs are used to make various products resistant to oil, stains, grease, and water. These chemicals are very long lasting and have spread through the environment.

The group "perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)" includes perfluorochemicals (PFCs). See the current list of designated chemicals for other example chemicals in the group PFASs.

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Fact Sheet

PFASs are found in:

  • Some food, such as:
    • Some meat and seafood, because some PFASs in the environment can accumulate in animals, fish, and shellfish.
    • Some vegetables grown with water that contains PFASs.
    • Food in certain grease-repellent packaging, including some fast-food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, take-out boxes, and cardboard containers for frozen foods.
  • Some textiles, such as stain-resistant carpets, water-repellent outdoor fabrics, and leather.
  • Certain stain- and water-repellent sprays; sealants for granite and other natural stone tiles or countertops; cleaning products; lubricants; polishes; and waxes.
  • Some personal care products, such as some skin creams, eye makeup, and dental floss.
  • Some nonstick cookware.
  • Drinking water sources affected by releases of PFASs into the environment.

Possible health concerns of some PFASs:

  • May harm the fetus and child, including effects on growth and development.
  • May affect the immune system and liver function.
  • May increase the risk of thyroid disease.
  • May interfere with the body’s natural hormones.
  • May increase cancer risk.

Possible ways to reduce exposure to PFASs:

  • Include plenty of variety in your and your child’s diet, and limit how often you eat foods in grease-repellent wrappers and containers.
  • Avoid products labeled as stain- or water-resistant, such as carpets, furniture, and clothing.
  • Check labels of household and personal care products, and avoid those with “fluoro” ingredients. Contact the manufacturer if you can’t find the ingredients on the label.
  • If you choose to use protective sprays, sealants, polishes, waxes, or similar products, make sure you have enough ventilation and follow other safety precautions.
  • Because PFASs can come out of products and collect in dust:
    • Wash your and your child’s hands often, especially before preparing or eating food.
    • Clean floors regularly, using a wet mop or HEPA vacuum if possible, and use a damp cloth to dust.

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
  • Potential Priority Chemicals: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) | Scientific document | 11/04/2015: PotentialPriority_PFASs_111815.pdf
  • Presentation: Potential Priority Chemicals: ortho-Phthalates and PFASs | Presentation | 11/18/2015: PotentialPriorityChems111815.pdf

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