gallery What are Perfluorinated Chemicals?

Our world is bombarded with water pollution. Whether it’s plastic or chemicals, there’s just no reason people or corporations should be so careless. Water pollution affects us all- people, wildlife and planet alike. To the extent we can, we must help prevent any further pollution and hold those responsible accountable.


Perfluorinated Chemicals: PFOA,PFOS, GenX

Perfluorinated chemicals are a group of harmful substances containing fluorine. They’re known as PFASs (perfluorinated alkylated substances), or as PFCs, perfluorinated chemicals (similar to the other PFCs, perfluorinated carbons that contribute to atmospheric pollution and ozone depletion). PFASs are persistent and bioaccumulative, they contaminate drinking water worldwide and do not break down. PFOA and PFOS were officially designated as persistent organic pollutants in 2009. Once in the environment or in our bodies they stay there a very very very long time. Most common PFASs include:

  • PFOS: perfluorooctane sulfate (stain resistant materials used in furniture, carpet…
  • PFOA (C8): perfluorooctanic acid (nonstick pans, waterproof fabric, fast food pkg)
  • GenX: substitute for PFOA, used in food packaging, nonstick pans, stain proof, etc

HOW YOU ARE EXPOSED: These compounds are found in nonstick cookware, stain proof carpet and furniture, some fast food packaging (grease-proof coating on food liners, fast food wrappers, Styrofoam, pizza boxes), microwave popcorn bags, some types of waterproof gear and clothing, fire fighting foam, and even dental floss can contain it. During manufacturing contaminants emit into the air and are casually discharged into waterways. For years Dupont released PFOA into nearby streams despite knowing the danger.

DuPont, 3M and other PFC manufacturers had ample indications decades ago that PFOA and other perfluorochemicals contaminate the blood of the general U.S. population. How and why they ignored the warning signs is one of the more disturbing chapters in the unfolding tragedy of PFC pollution.

As reported by Amy Goodman courtesy of Democracy Now, PFOA is so prominent in our environment that it’s been detected in 99 percent of Americans who’ve been tested, including newborn babies. These substances simply do not go away nor breakdown, but remain in our bodies. PFOA and PFOS were originally produced by 3M, but as the EPA started becoming concerned with these chemicals circa 1999, 3M discontinued production and Dupont took over. After being sued, Dupont sold off this division to Chemours who in recent years created GenX to replace PFOA. GenX is currently causing great concern in North Carolina where it’s been detected in the drinking water. There are no regulations yet for GenX nor have health risks been exactly determined. [i]

HEALTH EFFECTS: Through the evidence brought forth during the lawsuit against Dupont in 2004, it was determined conclusively that overexposure to perfluorinated chemicals causes testicular and kidney cancer, liver tumors, ulcerative colitis, pre-eclampsia, and thyroid disease. It’s suspected of contributing to birth defects and other cancers but findings were inconclusive.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are toxic chemicals that adversely affect human health and the environment around the world. Because they can be transported by wind and water, most POPs generated in one country can and do affect people and wildlife far from where they are used and released. They persist for long periods of time in the environment and can accumulate and pass from one species to the next through the food chain. (POPS definition courtesy EPA)


  • Avoid stain resistant carpet, furniture, tainted fast food wrappers, popcorn bags, teflon and nonstick pans, tainted water-resistant clothing and shoes
  • We have a right to know if our water is contaminated. Contact the EPA: PFASs must be regulated so that water providers are required to inform us if it’s present.
  • What products contain PFASs? Ask your senators to fight for banning them and for labeling in the meantime.




The Lawyer Who Became Dupont’s Worst Nightmare. “The story began in 1951, when DuPont started purchasing PFOA (which the company refers to as C8) from 3M for use in the manufacturing of Teflon. 3M invented PFOA just four years earlier; it was used to keep coatings like Teflon from clumping during production. Though PFOA was not classified by the government as a hazardous substance, 3M sent DuPont recommendations on how to dispose of it. It was to be incinerated or sent to chemical-waste facilities. DuPont’s own instructions specified that it was not to be flushed into surface water or sewers. But over the decades that followed, DuPont pumped hundreds of thousands of pounds of PFOA powder through the outfall pipes of the Parkersburg facility into the Ohio River. The company dumped 7,100 tons of PFOA-laced sludge into ‘‘digestion ponds’’: open, unlined pits on the Washington Works property, from which the chemical could seep straight into the ground. PFOA entered the local water table, which supplied drinking water to the communities of Parkersburg, Vienna, Little Hocking and Lubeck — more than 100,000 people in all.”  Continue to full article courtesy New York Times.

GenX found in rain


Delaying action on GenX is unacceptable


Toxic Secrets: The town that 3M built – where kids are dying of cancer


DuPont settles lawsuits over leak of chemical used to make Teflon


PFASs Fact Sheet National Institutes of Health

Persistent Organic Pollutants
In 2001 the Stockholm convention was adopted, restricting the manufacturing and use Persistent Organic Pollutants – POPs. PCDD/F, PCB. Pesticides – Aldrin, Dieldrin, Endrin, DDT, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, Mirex, Chlordane, Toxaphene. August 2010 – 9 additional chemicals included. Hexachlorocyclohexane (α, β, γ (Lindane)), PBDE (commercial Penta and Octa), hexabromobiphenyl, chlordecone, pentachlorobenzene, PFOS/PFOA. Endosulphan. Source: Pacific Rim Laboratories PCBs 101 Spokane River Forum


The above information is included in my upcoming publication, The Helpful Handbook.

As shocking as it is, this is the green reality!