chemical information
CAS RN:

335-67-1

Chemical Class:

Perfluorochemical (PFC)

Chemical SubClass

Perfluorinated carboxylic acid

Manufacturing/Use Status

use/production has been voluntarily discontinued in the U.S.

Found in these people:

Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Dr. Beverly Wright, Vivian Chang, Adult B, Adult #108, Baby #1, Baby #2, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #5, Baby #6, Baby #7, Baby #8, Baby #9, Baby #10, Anonymous Adult 1, Kathy Fowler, U.S. Representative Louise Slaughter, Participant #2, Participant #8, Kelsey Wirth, Michael Goodstein, Margie Roswell, Nina Damato, Nora Pouillon, Stephanie Berger, Sara Corbett, Nicholas, Cord Blood Sample 11, Cord Blood Sample 12, Cord Blood Sample 13, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 15, Cord Blood Sample 16, Cord Blood Sample 17, Cord Blood Sample 18, Cord Blood Sample 19, Cord Blood Sample 20, Baby B, Participant #1, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Adelaide Gomer, Ann Hunter-Welborn, Jesse Johnson, Winsome McIntosh, Judi Shils, Participant #18, Lynde Uihlein, Participant #2, Participant #20, Jessica Welborn, Alicia Wittink, Irene Crowe, Martha Davis, Emily Sayrs, Participant #6, Annette Gellert, Heather Gellert, Landon Gellert, Anonymous Adult, Anonymous Adult 2, Anonymous Adult 3, Anonymous Adult 5, Anonymous Adult 4, Anonymous Adult 6, Anonymous Adult 7, Anonymous Teen 1, Anonymous Adult 9, Anonymous Adult 12, Anonymous Adult 13, Anonymous Adult 11, Anonymous Adult 10, Anonymous Adult 14, Anonymous Adult 15, Anonymous Adult 16, Anonymous Adult 17, Anonymous Adult 18, Anonymous Adult 20, Anonymous Adult 21

Found in these locations:

Corpus Christi, TX; Green Bay, WI; New Orleans, LA; Oakland, CA; Rockville, MD; Upstate New York, NY; Silver Spring, MD; Washington, DC; Cambridge, MA; Bethesda, MD; Baltimore, MD; NY, USA; CA, USA; Belvedere, CA; Ithaca, NY; Encinitas, CA; Ross, CA; VA, USA; Milwaukee, WI; CO, USA; San Francisco, CA; Littleton, CO; MD, USA; Chicago, IL; Newton, MA; Fredericksburg, VA; Lamont, FL; Atlanta, GA; Mountain View, CA; Stanford, CA; Palo Alto, CA; Berkeley, CA; Alamo, CA; Fallbrook, CA

Exposure routes:

Teflon pans, stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets.


Summary

The perfluorochemical (PFC) family is characterized by chains of carbon atoms of varying lengths, to which fluorine atoms are strongly bonded. Invented by 3M and DuPont in the 1930s, these chemicals form the basis of world-famous brands such as Teflon, Stainmaster, Scotchgard, SilverStone and Gore-Tex. Today they are used in a dizzying array of consumer products: non-stick pots and pans, water resistant clothing, fast food packaging, microwave popcorn bags, butter and pizza boxes, paints, household cleaners, shampoo, floor wax, Zonyl paper coatings, and stain treatments for furniture, clothing, and carpets, among many others.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (or PFOA) is a type of PFC used to make Teflon, and is released to the air when Teflon cookware is heated to broiling temperatures. Just as important, many PFCs - including those found in Stainmaster and Zonyl paper protection - break down into PFOA in the environment or the human body. And unlike essentially any other toxic chemical, PFOA never degrades in the environment (3M 2000; 3M 2001a,b).

Animal studies have linked PFOA exposure to low birth weight, decreased growth, decreased pituitary size, increased number of dead or cannibalized pups, decreased breast-feeding, decreased liver size, delayed puberty, altered reproductive cycles and hormone levels, decreased kidney size, immune system problems, cancer, and death (EPA 2002; York 2002). In January of 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board recommended that PFOA be classified as a likely human carcinogen.

In studies conducted in the past several years, industry scientists have detected PFOA in the vast majority of samples tested from nearly 3000 people in the US, including blood samples from 598 children, 238 elderly Washington State residents, and approximately 2000 blood bank donors. The study of children's blood is particularly notable: 3M found PFOA in 96 percent of 598 children tested in 23 states and the District of Columbia (3M 2000a,b; 3M 2002). Once PFOA gets into the body, it circulates for years: the estimated half-life is 4.4 years (Burris 2002). PFOA has also been found in food, air, water, as well as in wildlife all over the world (3M 2001; 3M 2001; Giesy 2001a-d).

In January of 2006, the EPA asked eight manufacturers that use PFOA to reduce production 95% by 2010, and to stop using it altogether by 2015. But because PFOA never breaks down, this means that every PFOA molecule on the planet is here to stay; opportunities for humans (and other animals) to be exposed continuously to PFOA will continue even after production ceases.


PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid)

Used to make Teflon pan coatings; breakdown product of stain- and grease-proof coatings. Likely human carcinogen. Found in most people. Being phased out of some products.

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) has been found in 88 of the 88 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 2,085 of the 2,368 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.


Top health concerns for PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Cancerpossible
Birth defects and developmental delayslimited
Endocrine systemlimited

Other health concerns for PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) (References)

health concern or target organ weight of evidence
Kidney and renal systemunknown
Reproduction and fertilityunknown
Brain and nervous systemunknown
Immune system (including sensitization and allergies)unknown
Behavioral effectsunknown


Results for PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid)

PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 88 of 88 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in whole blood (wet weight)

Showing results from Pollution in Minority Newborns, EWG/Commonweal Study #4, industrial chemicals and pesticides in cord blood, EWG Study #3, industrial chemicals and pesticides in adults

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 0.903 ng/g (wet weight) in whole blood
  • found in 23 of 23 people in the group
0.176 ng/g (wet weight) in whole blood 4.2


PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) results

in blood serum (wet weight)

Showing results from EWG Study #5, Teflon and mercury in blood in adults and teens

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 4.2 ng/g (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 8 of 8 people in the group
2.92 ng/g (wet weight) in blood serum 7.83


PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) results

in blood serum (wet weight)

Showing results from Adult Minority Leader Report, Other Body Burden Studies, EWG Study #8, chemicals in mother and 2 children, Dateline NBC Families, EWG/Commonweal Study #7, consumer product chemicals in adults and teens, EWG Study #6, consumer product chemicals in mothers and daughters, Dateline NBC Families, Pets Project

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 3.54 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 57 of 57 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 2.19 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 2085 of 2368 people in the group
0.1 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum 77.2


PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic acid) results


Detailed toxicity classifications (References)

classification governing entity/references
Possible human carcinogenEPA (2002). Revised draft hazard assessment of perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts, Environmental Protection Agency. U.S. EPA Administrative Record AR226-1136. November 4, 2002.
Developmental toxicant - limited evidenceYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Endocrine disruptor - suspected or limited evidenceYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Endocrine disruptorYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Renal system toxicity - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Reproductive effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Nervous system toxicity - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Immune system toxicity - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.
Behavioral effects - weight of evidence unknown/unassessedYork, R. (2002). Oral (gavage) two-generation (one litter per generation) reproduction study of ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) in rats Report prepared for 3M, St. Paul, MN by Argus Research (Horsham, PA). Sponsor's Study No. T-6889.6., Reviewed in US EPA AR226-1092.