General information about PFOS/PFOA

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals.

PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the world. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals.

Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and the human body and there is evidence that exposure to them can lead to adverse human health effects.

Why are PFOS/PFOA a hazardous substance?

Exposure to this hazardous substance can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans and animals.

Ingested (by eating or drinking food or water that contains them), these substances are absorbed and can accumulate in the body.

They stay in the human body for long periods, and as a result, the level of PFOA and PFOS in their bodies may increase to the point where they suffer from adverse health effects.

Additionally, they are related to increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, reduced infant birth weights, effects on the immune system, cancer (for PFOA), and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).

Studies indicate that they can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects, such as tumours.

Where can PFOS/PFOA be found?

This hazardous substance can be found in various places and pro-ducts, including the ones listed below


  • Food packaged
  • Commercial household products, including stain and water-repellent fabrics, non-stick products (for example, Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams
  • Workplaces, including production facilities or industries that use PFOA and PFOS
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility.
  • Living organisms, including fishes, animals and humans.


This article can be found in the 2021 edition of the document. Find the full publication here:

Help us grow!

If you have any suggestions about these contents, find any error or would like to make us aware of anything, please fill out the form below.

To contact EDI, please fill in and submit the following form.

By submitting the form, you will automatically receive an e-mail with a copy of your request