New reports on polyfluorinated chemicals

A few days ago the Danish Environmental Protection Agency published three new reports on polyfluorinated chemicals, which I co-authored.

The Environmental project No. 1707, 2015 report: “Short-chain Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)” is a literature review of information on human health effects and environmental fate and effect aspects of short-chain PFAS, which are used as substitutes for PFOS and PFOA. The industry claims that these chemical are safe alternatives, however, the report documents that these chemicals also are persistent in the environment, accumulate long-term in human tissues and have various toxic effects.Two examples of short-chain PFAS:

6 2 fluortelomer acrylate

6:2 Fluorotelomer acrylate


Perfluorobutane sulfonate

The second report: “Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in textiles for children.” Survey of chemical substances in consumer products No. 136, 2015. The report includes:

  • a survey of PFASs in children’s textile products on the Danish market,
  • a screening of the potential health and environmental hazards,
  • analysis of PFASs in textiles, migration fluids and laundry water,
  • PFAS exposures to children from textiles, and
  • a more detailed environmental and health risk assessment.

The third report: “Alternatives to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in textiles.” LOUS Survey of chemical substances in consumer products No. 137, 2015. The report demonstrates that many of the same technical useful properties the fluorinated chemicals have, such as waterproofness and dirt repellence, can be obtained by using substances such as paraffins, silicones or various waxes. The alternative substances are less hazardous and some Danish companies has already started to use the alternatives in their products.

Last week, Greenpeace also started a public campaign against use of perfluorinated chemicals (PFC) in all-weather-outdoor clothes and the PFC footprints in the Arctic, and they published a background report: “Footprints in the snow. Hazardous PFCs in remote locations around the globe”.

A newly published status report on chemical pollution of the Norwegian aquatic environment also revealed frequent occurrence of perfluorinated chemicals in fisk from Norwegian lakes. The long-chain perfluorotridecanoate (PFTrA) was the dominating PFAS-compound in fish liver samples. The occurences of siloxanes and mercury were also relatively high.

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