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Perfluorinated compounds

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Perfluorinated compounds are a family of fluorine-containing chemicals with properties that make materials stain and stick resistant. PFCs are also highly persistent in the environment. Two commonly used PFCs are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used in Teflon, and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a breakdown product of chemicals used to make Scotchgard products until 2002.[1] In 2006, the U.S. EPA, DuPont (manufacturer of Teflon), and seven other companies announced an agreement to reduce PFOA in emissions from manufacturing plants and in consumer products by 95 percent by 2010.[2]

Uses

PFCs are used in a number of products including:[3]

  • Grease-resistant food packaging and paper products (microwave popcorn bags, french fry boxes, pizza boxes)
  • Carpet, furniture, and clothing with 3M's Scotchgard treatment (made with PFOS until 2002)
  • Teflon-coated nonstick cookware, made by DuPont
  • Cleaning products and personal care products (shampoo, dental floss, denture cleaners)
  • Gore-Tex clothing
  • Stainmaster carpet

Human Exposure

Humans are exposed to PFCs from food packaging, stain-resistant furniture, carpet, clothing, shoes, luggage, camping, and sporting equipment, and from non-stick cookware (particularly when the cookware is heated above 450F).[4] Humans are also exposed in dental floss and many cosmetics, including nail polish, facial moisturizers, and eye make-up.

Human Health Effects

According to Pollution in People:[5]

  • "PFOA is a likely human carcinogen; it causes liver, pancreatic, testicular, and mammary gland tumors in laboratory animals. PFOS causes liver and thyroid cancer in rats."
  • "PFCs cause a range of other problems in laboratory animals, including liver and kidney damage, as well as reproductive problems."
  • "PFOA’s half-life in our bodies, or the time it would take to expel half of a dose, is estimated at more than 4 years. PFOS’s half-life is estimated at more than 8 years."

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Pollution in People], Accessed September 24, 2010.
  2. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Pollution in People], Accessed September 24, 2010.
  3. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Pollution in People], Accessed September 24, 2010.
  4. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Pollution in People], Accessed September 24, 2010.
  5. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs), Pollution in People], Accessed September 24, 2010.

External resources

External articles