Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs)

About PFCs
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a family of fluorine-containing chemicals with unique properties such as the ability to repel oil and water.

How am I exposed?
PFCs are released into the environment through manufacturing processes and continue to contaminate our food and some water supplies. Exposure also occurs from consumer products, house dust, and food packaging. PFCs are found in clothing, carpeting, furniture, Teflon™ and Scotchgard® products, and food packaging such as pizza boxes and fast-food containers.

Why should I be concerned?
PFCs are extremely persistent in the environment and are linked to serious health concerns such as cancer, liver and kidney damage, reproductive problems, lower birth weight, and immune dysfunction.

What can government and business do?

  • The state and federal governments should pass legislation that includes immediate action to phase out PFCs and other persistent toxic chemicals.
  • Businesses should halt the production of PFCs and look to replacing PFCs with safer alternative chemicals.

How can I reduce my exposure?

  • Avoid stain resistant carpets, furniture, and other products that have been pre-treated.
  • Avoid Teflon™ and/or Scotchgard® clothing and non-stick cookware products. Instead, choose cookware that is stainless steel, anodized aluminium, glass, porcelain or cast iron.
  • Avoid greasy packaged foods and products that contain “perfluoro” in the ingredient list.

Additional Resources
Environmental Working Group: Cheat sheet: PFCs
Washington Toxics Coalition: PFCs

 

Washington Toxics Coalition provided content for this page.