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PFAS

Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, also known as “PFAS”, are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in a range of common household products and specialty applications, including in the manufacture of non-stick cookware; fabric, furniture and carpet stain protection applications; food packaging; some industrial processes; and in some types of fire-fighting foams. There are many types of PFAS, with the best known examples being perfluorooctane sulfonate, known as “PFOS”, and perfluorooctanoic acid, known as “PFOA” and perfluorohexane sulfonate, known as PFHxS.

More recently, PFAS have been found to have contaminated sites where there has been historic use of fire-fighting foams that contained PFAS. Over time, these chemicals have worked their way through the soil to contaminate surface and ground water, and have migrated into adjoining land areas. The release of PFAS into the environment is an emerging concern, because these chemicals are highly persistent, have been shown to be toxic to fish and some animals, and can accumulate in the bodies of fish, animals and people who come into contact with them. However, there is currently no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse human health effects.

Further information is available in the following Factsheet:

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