Per- and PolyFluoroAlkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been manufactured since the 1940s. They have been used extensively in common household products such as nonstick pans, food packaging (pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, etc.), clothing and upholstery protectors (GoreTex, Scotchgard, etc.), and some personal care products and cosmetics. PFAS were also an important ingredient in fire-fighting foam.
Most U.S. manufacturers have phased out the use of PFOA and PFOS, however, these chemicals are still produced internationally and can be imported into the U.S. in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics.
PFAS do not break down in water or soil and may be carried over great distances by wind, rain or groundwater. Much of the contamination that is being discovered today may have originated years ago before suspicion of the damaging environmental and health effects was raised.
Exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.