Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of thousands of chemicals that are used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, food packaging, cookware, and other materials to make them non-stick and/or resistant to water, oil, and stains. They are also used in a number of industrial processes and firefighting activities.
Two legacy long-chain PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are no longer produced in the United States. Between 2000 and 2002, PFOS was voluntarily phased out of production in the U.S. by its primary manufacturer. In 2006, eight major companies voluntarily agreed to phase out their global production of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals, although there are a limited number of ongoing uses. Scientists have found PFOA and PFOS in the blood of nearly all the people they tested in national monitoring surveys. Newer short-chain PFAS compounds have been introduced by the industry as replacements for PFOA and PFOS, such as perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS).