Contaminants in the Urban Environment: Perfluoroalkyl Substances

Figure 2. Examples of common sources of perfluoroalkyl substances in the environment. Clockwise from top left: (1) non-stick pan, (2) waterproof textile, (3) fire-fighting foam, (4) food wrap papers. Credit: iStock/ (non-stick pan, waterproof textile, and fire fighting foam)/Digital Vision/ (fast food)Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) or perfluorochemicals (PFCs) are the most widespread and persistent manmade chemicals on earth. Common products that contain PFASs are Teflon pans, non-stick cookware, rain/waterproof jackets (like Gore-Tex), fire-fighting foams, food packaging, carpets, and furniture fabrics. PFASs stay in the environment for a long period of time, which means they can accumulate in organisms to levels that cause harmful effects. This 9-page fact sheet discusses the occurrence, use, exposure, and potential harmful effects of PFASs to humans and the environment, and suggests ways to reduce your exposure to PFSAs. Written by Ignacio A. Rodriguez-Jorquera and Gurpal S. Toor, and published by the UF Department of Soil and Water Science, March 2015. (Photos: