What is PFAS?

What does PFAS stand for?
PFAS stands for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, a broad chemical category of fluorinated substances that contain at least one fully fluorinated methyl or methylene carbon atom.

Why are PFAS called "forever chemicals"?
PFAS are nicknamed "forever chemicals" because they degrade very slowly, leading to their accumulation in the environment, animals, and humans over time.

Where are PFAS commonly found?
PFAS are found in a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including:

  • Refrigerants
  • Fertilizers
  • Electronics
  • Medical devices
  • Fire-extinguishing foams
  • Food packaging
  • Carpets
  • Personal care products
  • Clothing

Why are PFAS a concern?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other environmental agencies are concerned about PFAS because their persistence in the environment can lead to adverse health effects including   an increased risk of cancers.

What forms do PFAS exist in?
PFAS can exist as solids, gases, and liquids, encompassing thousands of different chemistries with varying characteristics, properties, environmental, and safety profiles.

Is the EPA taking action against PFAS?
Yes, the EPA is actively working to address the risks associated with PFAS. In June 2023, the EPA released a framework for addressing new and new uses of PFAS under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The framework will ensure that before these chemicals are allowed to enter into commerce, EPA will undertake an extensive evaluation to ensure they pose no harm to human health and the environment.

In additon, over 20 individual US States have adopted their own regulations specifically pertaining to PFAS, including the monitoring of PFAS content in public drinking-water supplies, and initiating mitigation measures if content exceeds defined levels. Recently, some states have proposed new rules to regulate PFAS use in consumer products such as cosmetics and food-packaging.

Should PFAS be Banned?

An outright ban of all PFAS would eliminate a wide variety of important products and materials that enable many aspects of modern society. Because PFAS make up a diverse group consisting of thousands of chemicals and materials consisting of different categories and classes, they are used in the manufacture of thousands of essential products. A more reasonable approach is for each compound to be evaluated based on its unique physical and chemical properties as well as the societal benefits derived from its use.

PFAS-free Alternatives from MicroCare

Certain materials or industries may be exempt from PFAS regulations. MicroCare currently offers a selection of non-fluorinated cleaners that are categorized as PFAS-free. They include:

At MicroCare, our Critical Cleaning Lab continuously researches new ingredients to develop the safest, most environmentally friendly, and effective cleaners for our customers. As PFAS regulations stabilize, MicroCare remains committed to investing time and resources into providing PFAS alternatives for your use.