Recently, issues about PFAS have aroused wide public concern like whether food packaging contains PFAS, and what is PFAS in drinking water? But a lot of us have no idea about what are PFAS. As you often see acronyms such as PFAS, PFOA, PFOS due to the negative effects on the human body and the environment, you should know what is pfas, what are pfas chemicals, along with the questions of what is pfos and what is pfoa. Let us discuss these questions one by one:
What Is PFAS? What Does PFAS Stand For?
PFAS is a group of industrial chemicals and synthetic chemicals. PFAS stands for Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances and it is perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances containing at least one fully fluorinated carbon atom. What are pfas chemicals? PFAS contains nearly 5,000 industrially produced chemical substances. PFAS molecules consist of a carbon backbone with fluorine atoms attached, creating a highly stable, non-degradable structure. Our common PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFCAs, PFAAs, PFCAs, etc. all belong to PFAS. At present, the most popular PFAS worldwide PFOA and PFOS belong to PFAAs and PFSAs respectively.
-What Is PFAS Used For?
Due to some of its physical and chemical properties, pfas has unique advantages in oil resistance, water resistance, high temperature resistance, etc., and is widely used in various products and industries such as food packaging and cookware. In the electronic and electrical industry, it is also widely used in semiconductors, wires and cables, PCB boards and various electronic products.
-What Does PFAS Do to Your Body & What Is PFAS Contamination?
PFAS contamination is a kind of organic pollutant that features persistence and durability. If PFAS enter and accumulate in your body or organism, it will do a lot of damage to your body,because it is difficult to decompose, and it will cause long-lasting damage. A lot of Studies have proved that PFAS contaminations do have something to do many diseases. Since PFAS substances are harmful to humans and the environment, many countries or regions around the world have restricted PFAS.
What Is PFOA?
What does pfoa stand for? PFOA stands for perfluorooctanoic acid, a synthetic chemical compound. PFOA and its zinc-containing main salt is also called "C8" that's what is pfoa, which is an important raw material for many products. From what we discuss what are pfas,organic contaminant like PFOA is very difficult to degrade and it has a high persistence in the environment. As time going by, one day PFOA may enter our food chain,the result is that it accumulates in human and animal tissues which would cause potential dangers to human health and the environment for a long time.
-What Is PFOA Used For?
Generally, PFOA is mainly used in the textile industry, but in products like non-stick pans, fabrics, coated pans, teflon coatings, etc, PFOA is used a lot as well.Since a lot of companies and sellers in textile industry around the world know that PFOA and its salts are potentially dangerous to humans and the environment, so they explicitly prohibit PFOA and its salts in their chemical restrictions.
What Is PFOS?
PFOS is short for perfluorooctane sulphonate (C8F17SO2X). PFOS is widely used in the production of civil and industrial products, such as oil repellents, dustproofing agents, insecticides, surface antifogging agents and other products. Like other pfas chemicals, PFOS is also extremely persistent and is the kind of organic pollutant which is hardest to decompose. It will not decompose in concentrated sulfuric acid for one hour.And PFOS even has very high stability in some extreme environments like under circumstances in aerobic and anaerobic environments, this is what pfos really is. Numerous studies have shown that PFOS does not show any signs of degradation. PFOS is an important ingredient in most printing and dyeing and textile processing detergents and auxiliaries, so it is the most widely used in the textile industry.
PFAS History-When Were PFAS Invented?
PFAS was originally invented in the 1930s,and developed rapidly in the late 1960s. At the very beginning, PFAS was ony widely used as the raw material in products like nonstick and waterproof coatings. But A sudden serious fire accident changed this, in 1967 a fire accident on an aircraft carrier killed more than 130 people, because of that manufacturers and scientists began to further study on PFAS hoping to find more effective firefighting techniques. And in the late 1960s they succeeded and found a PFAS-containing water-based foam AFFF, a foam mixture that quickly extinguished flames. Since then what is PFAS are widly used on ships and aircrafts no matter is for military use or civilian use.
Where Can We Find PFAS?
PFAS are usually found in factories and large facilities as well as in commercial products such as Teflon. PFAS chemicals are also existing in firefighting foam, which is commonly used on military bases and training grounds during Training. Therefore PFAS chemicals can be found in the environment around military bases and manufacturing facilities, sometimes we can find PFOA even in local water systems.
1. Foods packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed using PFAS-containing equipment, or in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
2. Commercial household products, including stain-resistant and waterproof fabrics, non-stick products (such as Teflon), polishes, waxes, coatings, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams source).
3. Workplaces, including production facilities or industries that use PFAS (eg, chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, or oil extraction).
4. Drinking water, especially in places with specific facilities like landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility.
Harms of PFAS:
Truth is that PFAS has become a well-know contaminant. And PFAS chemicals are definitely harmful to our body when they enter and accumulate in our body with food.what's worse, the damage to our health is chronical and will last for a long time. According to some research, certain amount of PFAS can damage our liver,immune system and reproductive system or even increase the incidence of getting cancer.
Two types of PFAS—PFOA and PFOS which are widely studied may pollute our drinking water. According to an accidental research, researchers detect PFOA in blood of many people in the United States which Confirmed the existence of pfoa in the water supply system. The presence of PFOA in the blood is associated with elevated cholesterol and uric acid levels, which can lead to kidney stones and gout.
From what is PFAS has been discussed above, it is high time that we should do someting to protect ourselves against PFAS. Although the PFAS family contains chemicals that are very useful in a variety of industries, for environmental reasons, scientists should try to find viable alternatives to PFAS whenever possible. According to IPEN, more than 50 commercial airports in major cities around the world and several large companies in the oil and gas industry have stopped using fluorinated firefighting foams and opted for alternatives. At the same time, we should try to find a filtering method to remove PFOA and PFOS chemicals from polluted water sources, and once the PFAS is filtered out, the PFAS will be completely destroyed. Or use other methods such as electrochemistry, ultrasonic treatment, etc., which can completely decompose the molecules. If you want to learn the detailed methods, read this blog: How to Remove PFAS From Water at Home.