chemical information


Chemical Class:

Perfluorochemical (PFC)

Chemical SubClass

Perfluorinated carboxylic acid

Manufacturing/Use Status

there are no restrictions on the production/use in the U.S.

Found in these people:

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, Nicholas, Anonymous Adult 17, Anonymous Adult 18, Anonymous Adult 20, Anonymous Adult 21, Baby #1, Baby #2, Baby #3, Baby #4, Baby #5, Baby #6, Baby #7, Baby #8, Baby #9, 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, Participant #1, Participant #10, Fred Gellert, Adelaide Gomer, Ann Hunter-Welborn, Jesse Johnson, Anonymous Adult, Winsome McIntosh, Judi Shils, Participant #18, Lynde Uihlein, Participant #2, Participant #20, Jessica Welborn, Alicia Wittink, Irene Crowe, Martha Davis, Emily Sayrs, Participant #6, Anonymous Adult RN7, Anonymous Teen 22, Anonymous Adult RN9, Sara Corbett, Dr. Beverly Wright, Adult #108, Adult B, Baby B, Vivian Chang, Jennifer Hill-Kelley, Suzie Canales, Jean Salone, Cord Blood Sample 12, Cord Blood Sample 14, Cord Blood Sample 15, Cord Blood Sample 16, Cord Blood Sample 18

Found in these locations:

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

Exposure routes:

Stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets.


Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) is a breakdown product of stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, and carpets, including Stainmaster. The chemical is part of a family of perfluoroalkyl carboxylates, all with structures similar to the well-known chemical contaminant PFOA, but with carbon chain lengths ranging from 4 to 15 carbons. PFNA is the 9 carbon version of PFOA.

All of these perfluoroalkyl carboxylates are highly persistent. But those with carbon chain lengths of at least 8 carbons are of particular concern because they are known to be bioaccumulative, globally distributed pollutants. These chemicals have been found in human and wildlife blood and tissues from around the globe, even in remote locations such as the arctic (3M 2000; Bossi 2005; Guruge 2005; Smithwick 2005; Van de Vijver 2005; Lange 2006).

While there has been very little research done on the toxicity of PFNA itself, PFOA has been studied extensively. 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 (EPA) Science Advisory Board recommended that PFOA be classified as a likely human carcinogen.

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. Furthermore, similar action has not been taken on chemicals that break down into PFOA or its related perfluoroalkyl carboxylates, making EPA's action even less effective for actually making meaningful reductions in exposures to these compounds.

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid)

Breakdown product of stain- and grease-proof coatings on food packaging, couches, carpets. A 9-carbon version of PFOA; persistent; bioaccumulative.

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid) has been found in 81 of the 88 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. It has also been found in 2,058 of the 2,368 people tested in CDC biomonitoring studies.

Results for PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid)

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid) was measured in different units for some of the studies. Overall it was found in 81 of 88 people tested in EWG/Commonweal studies. The bars below are grouped by units:

in blood serum (wet weight)

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

EWG/Commonweal results

  • geometric mean: 1.3 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 56 of 57 people in the group

CDC biomonitoring results

  • geometric mean: 0.63 ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 2058 of 2368 people in the group
ng/mL (wet weight) in blood serum 11.5

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid) results

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: 0.027 ng/g (wet weight) in whole blood
  • found in 17 of 23 people in the group
ng/g (wet weight) in whole blood 0.686

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic 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: 1.83 ng/g (wet weight) in blood serum
  • found in 8 of 8 people in the group
0.591 ng/g (wet weight) in blood serum 5.24

PFNA (Perfluorononanoic acid) results