Non-polymer PFAS can build up in blood protein of animals, and is not always removed quickly. This means that predators eating PFAS-contaminated food will have higher levels in their bloodstream, and concentrations can increase up the food chain. Studies suggest that build up of PFAS is similar to those of other Persistent Organic Pollutants such as DDT.PFAS are estimated to be settling in arctic regions at rates of tens to hundreds of kilograms per year (25-850kg per year), depending on the specific PFAS chemical in question. Certain PFAS are released as gases to the environment and are blown a long way by wind and air currents in the atmosphere,. These gas PFAS will over time degrade to more persistent chemicals like PFOS and PFOA. This may be one reason why PFAS of environmental concern have been found in remote regions such as the Arctic as well as near PFAS production sitesPFAS including PFOS and PFOA have been found in air samples around Europe. The chemicals are found in small quantities, but appear in almost all samples tested. PFAS enters the atmosphere both from factories and the air inside our homes. PFAS is found in treated waste water from industrial and domestic sources and has been found in both rivers and groundwater. Conventional drinking water processes will not remove PFAS.PFAS-coated clothes that are thrown away will often end up either incinerated or in landfill. Unless incinerated at very high temperatures (>1000oC), fluorinated polymers could release more harmful PFAS during burning. PFAS of environmental concern have also been found in landfill leachate. Non-polymer PFAS are used in the production of fluorinated polymers. The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes generally releases these PFASs into the environment, both by air and water emissions. They are very hard to remove during water treatment. Workers in textiles factories are some of the population most exposed to these potentially harmful chemicals. Small quantities of PFAS will be removed during wash and wear of products containing PFAS. This includes fluorinated polymers used on stain-resistant coatings, and non-polymers that remain on clothes after production (Lassen et al. 2015).Most UK waste still ends up in landfill, and this includes PFAS-containing products. Studies have shown that the liquid coming from landfills (known as leachate) often contain non-polymer PFAS chemicals. In the USA the total quantities were estimated at 563-638 kg in 2013. To properly break down PFAS chemicals high temperature (1000oC or more) incineration is recommended. Incineration of municipal waste does not necessarily reach these temperatures (min temp. required is 850oC), and the incomplete breakdown could release non-polymer PFAS.Wash and wear of clothing that contains PFAS-based stain-resistant or water repellent finishes release PFAS to the environment. Coatings are thought to lose effectiveness after 20-30 washes. This can include non-polymer PFAS, remnant from production or as a break-down product of side-chain polymers (Lassen et al. 2015). The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes releases PFASs into the environment, both by air and water emissions. PFAS are very hard to remove during water treatment. Industrial emissions are estimated to be the biggest source of these chemicals to the environment.

Table reproduced from: Glüge, J., et al., An overview of the uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 2020: DOI: 10.1039/d0em00291g

Use category/subcategory

Function of PFAS

Aerosol propellant

Aerosol propellant


 Phosphate esterbased brake and hydraulic fluids Corrosion protection
 Gyroscopes Flotation fluids in gyroscopes
 Wire and cable High-temperature endurance, fire resistance, and high-stress crack resistance
 Turbineengine Use as lubricant
 Turbineengine Use as elastomeric seals
 Thermal control and radiator surfaces Reject waste heat
 Coating Protect underlying polymers from atomic oxygen attack
 Propellant system Elastomers compatible to aggressive fuels and oxidizers
 Jet engine/satellite instrumentation Use as lubricant

Air conditioning

Working fluid

Antifoaming agent

Prevent foaming


Make the final product rubbery and reduce the likelihood of an unplanned explosion due to shock; enable long-term storage without degradation of the polymer


 Breathable membranes Polymeric PFAS are used as membranes
 Longlasting durable Water repellent finish Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release


 Car body Weather resistance paint, no-wax brilliant top coat
 Automotive waxes Aid spreading, improve the resistance of the polish to water and oil
 Windshield wiper fluid Prevent icing of the wind shield
 Car body Light, stable
 Engine and steering system Polymeric PFAS are used as sealants and bearings
 Engine oil coolers Heat transfer fluid
 Cylinder head coatings and hoses Increase the fuel efficiency
 Cylinder head coatings and hoses Reduce the fugitive gasoline vapour emissions
 Electronics Cables and wires
 Fuel lines, steel hydraulic brake tubes Corrosion protection
 Interior Dirt repellent in carpets and seats
 Brake pad additives ?


 Cell cultivation Supply of oxygen and other gases to microbial cells
 Ultrafiltration and microporous membranes Prevent bacterial growth

Building and construction

 Architectural membranes e.g. in roofs Resistance to weathering, dirt repellent, light
 Greenhouse Transparent to both UV and visible light, resistant to weathering, dirt repellent
 Cement additive Reduce the shrinkage of cement
 Cable and Wire insulation, gaskets & hoses High-temperature endurance, fire resistance, and high-stress crack resistance

Chemical industry

 Fluoropolymer processing aid Emulsify the monomers, increase the rate of polymerization, stabilize fluoropolymers
 Production of chlorine and caustic soda (with asbestos diaphragms cells) Binder for the asbestos-fibre-based diaphragms
 Production of chlorine and caustic soda (with fluorinated membranes) Stable membrane in strong oxidizing conditions and at high temperatures
 Processing aids in the extrusion of high and liner lowdensity polyethylene film Eliminate melt fracture and other flow-induced imperfections
 Tantalum, molybdenum, and niobium processing Cutting or drawing oil
 Chemical reactions Inert reaction media (especially for gaseous reactants)
 Polymer curing Medium for crosslinking of resins, elastomers and adhesives
 Ionic liquids Raw materials for ionic liquids
 Solvents Dissolve other substances

Cleaning products

 Cleaning compositions for hard surfaces Enhance wettability
 Carpet and upholstery cleaners Provide stain resistance and repel soil
 Cleaning compositions for adhesives ?
 Dry cleaning fluids Stabilizer, improve the removal of hydrophilic soil
 Cleaning of reverse osmosis membranes Remove calcium sulphate

Coatings, paints and varnishes

 Paints Emulsifier for the binder, dispersant for the pigments, wetting agent
 Paints Enhance the protective properties of anticorrosive paints
 Paints Antifouling on ships
 Paints and coatings Anti-crater, improved surface appearance, better flow and levelling, reduced foaming, decreased block, open-time extension, oil- and water repellency, dirt pickup resistance
 Paints and coatings Form second coat on a first coat
 Coatings Antistick and anticorrosive coatings
 Coatings Highly durable and weatherable

Conservation of books and manuscripts

Preserve historical manuscripts

Cook and bakingware

Prevent food from sticking to the pan/baking ware


Disperse solutions

Electroless plating

Disperses the pitch fluoride in the plating solution

Electronical devices

 Printed circuit boards Use fibre-reinforced fluoropolymer layer
 Capacitors Separation of high voltage components (dielectric fluid)
 Acoustical equipment Provide an electrical signal in response to mechanical or thermal signals
 Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) Provide the liquid crystal with a dipole moment
 Liquid crystal displays (LCDs) Polymeric PFAS provide moisture sensitive coating for displays
 Light management films in flat panel display Reduced static electricity build-up and dust attraction during fabrication
 Razors Polymeric PFFAs is used on the razor
 Electroluminescent lamps Polymeric PFAS is used as coating

Electroplating (metal plating)

 Chrome plating Prevent the evaporation of chromium(vi) vapour
 Nickel plating Non-foaming surfactant
 Nickel plating Increase the strength of the nickel electroplate by eliminating pinholes, cracks, and peeling
 Copper plating Prevent haze by regulating foam and improving stability
 Tin plating Help to produce a plate of uniform thickness
 Alkaline zinc and zinc alloy plating
 Deposition of Fluoropolymer particles onto steel Supported by fluorinated surfactants

Electronic industry

 Testing of electronic devices and equipment Inert fluids for electronics testing
 Heat transfer fluids Cooling of electrical equipment
 Solvent systems and cleaning Form the basis of cleaning solutions
 Carrier fluid/lubricant Deposition Dissolve and deposit lubricants on a range of substrates during the manufacturing of hard disk drives
 Etching of piezoelectric ceramic filters Etching solution

Energy sector

 Solar collectors and photovoltaic cells High vapour barrier, high transparency, great weatherability and dirt repellency
 Photovoltaic cells Adhesives with PFAS hold mesh cathode in place
 Wind mill blades Coating
 Coalbased power plants Polymeric PFAS filter remove fly ash from the hot smoky discharge
 Coalbased power plants Separation of carbon dioxide in flue gases
 Lithium batteries Binder for electrodes
 Lithium batteries Prevent thermal runaway reaction
 Lithium batteries Improve the oxygen transport of lithium–air batteries
 Lithium batteries Electrolyte solvents for lithium–sulfur batteries
 Ion exchange membrane in vanadium redox batteries Polymeric PFAS are used as membranes
 Zinc batteries Prevent formation of dendrites, hydrogen evolution and electrode corrosion due to adsorption onto the electrode surface
 Alkaline manganese batteries MnO2 cathodes containing carbon black are treated with a fluorinated surfactant
 Polymer electrolyte fuel cells Polymeric PFAS are used as membranes
 Power transformers Cooling liquid
 Conversion of Heat to mechanical energy Heat transfer fluids

Fingerprint development


Firefighting foam

 Fluoroprotein (FP) foams Fuel repellents
 Filmforming Fluoroprotein (FFFP) Foam Film formers, foam stabilizers
 Alcoholresistant film forming fluoroprotein (ARFFFP) foam Film formers, foam stabilizers
 Aqueous filmforming foams (AFFF) Film formers
 Alcoholresistant aqueous film forming foam (ARAFFF) Foam stabilizers

Flame retardants

 Polycarbonate resin Flame retardants
 Other plastic Flame retardants

Floor covering including carpets and floor polish

Improve wetting and levelling
 Soilrelease finishes for carpets Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release
 Aftermarket Carpet protection Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release
 Resilient linoleum ?
 Laminated floor covering ?
 Floor polish Improve levelling and wetting

Food production

 Wineries and dairies Final filtration before bottling with polymeric PFAS


 Surface Treatment Make glass surfaces hydrophobic and oleophobic
 Surface Treatment Prevents misting of glass
 Surface Treatment Dirt-repellent
 Surface Treatment Fire-or weather resistant
 Etching and polishing Increase the speed of etching, improve wetting
 Drying as Production step in glass finishing Solvents in solvent displacement drying

Household applications

 Threads and joints Polymeric PFAS is used for sealing

Laboratory supplies, equipment and instrumentation

 Consumable materials (vials, caps, tape) Made out of polymeric PFAS
 Personal protective equipment (gloves) ?
 Particle filters Minimize the sorption of compounds to the filter itself
 Solvents Dissolve other substances
 LC instruments Polymeric PFAS are used in the solvent degasser
 LC columns Some columns are based on polymeric PFAS
 Reverse phase LC-Solvents can contain PFAS
 Seals and membranes in UPLCs, autoclaves and ovens are made out of polymeric PFAS
 Oils and greases in pumps Form a thick oil layer and reduced wear
 Sterilization of an insulated vessel Sterilization medium
 Electro plotting Protein-sequencing membranes are made out of polymeric PFAS
 Analysing the phosphoamino content in proteins Protein-sequencing membranes are made out of polymeric PFAS


 Manufacturing of genuine leather Improve the efficiency of hydrating, pickling, degreasing and tanning
 Repellent Treatment (genuine leather) Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release
 Manufacturing of synthetic leather Polymer melt additives that impart oil and water repellency to the finished fibres
 Shoe brighteners Improve the levelling of shoe brighteners
 Impregnation spray Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release
Lubricants and greases Form a thick oil layer and reduced wear
Machinery and equipment ?

Manufacture of metal products

 Manufacture of basic metals Inhibit the formation of acid mist during the electrowinning of copper
 Manufacture of fabricated metal products ?
 Pickling of steel wires Acid-pickling promoter
 Treatment of Coating of metal surfaces Promote the flow of metal coatings, prevent cracks in the coating during drying
 Treatment of Coating of metal surfaces Corrosion inhibitor on steel
 Etching of aluminium in alkali baths Improving the efficient life of the alkali baths
 Phosphating process for aluminium Fluoride-containing phosphating solutions help to dissolve the oxide layer of the aluminium
 Cleaning of metal surfaces Disperse scum, speed runoff of acid when metal is removed from the bath, increase the bath life
 Water removal from processed parts Solvent displacement

Medical utensils

 Electronic devices that rely on high frequency signals (defibrillators, pacemakers, cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), positron-emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices) High dielectric insulators
 Video endoscope Use in charge-coupled device colour filters
 Microbubble-based ultrasound contrast agents Fluorinated gas inner core, which provides osmotic stabilization and contributes to interfacial tension reduction
 Xray imaging Contrast enhancement agents
 Magnetic resonance imaging Contrast agent
 Proton and 19F NMR imaging Contrast agents
 Computed tomography and sonography Contrast agents
 Radio-opaque materials Polymeric PFAS has been used
 Surgical drapes and gowns Improve water-, oil- and dirt-resistance
 Xray films Wetting agents, emulsion additives, stabilizers and antistatic agent
 Dispersant Facilitate the dispersion of cell aggregates
 contact lenses Raw material
 Retinal detachment surgery and proliferative vitreoretinal Endotamponade gases
 Retinal detachment surgery and proliferative vitreoretinal Intraoperative tool during vitreoretinal surgery
 Eye drops Delivery agent
 filters, tubing, O-rings, Seals and gaskets in dialysis machines Made out of polymeric PFAS
 dialysis membranes Made out of polymeric PFAS
 Catheter, stents, and needles Provide low-friction and clot-resistant coatings
 Surgical patches and vascular Catheter Use of polymeric PFAS
 Blood transfer and artificial Blood Oxygen carrier
 Organ perfusion Oxygen carrier
 Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty Oxygen carrier
 Toothpaste Enhances fluorapatite formation and inhibits caries
 Dental floss Allows the narrow ribbon to slip easily between close-pressed teeth
 UV-hardened Dental restorative materials Improve the wetting of the set materials
 Ventilation of respiratory airway ?
 Anaesthesia Polymeric PFAS is used to dry or humidify breath
 artificial heart pump Blood compatible and durable
 Wound care Cleaning burn residues

Metallic and ceramic surfaces

Generates easily removable sludge


 Ore leaching in Copper and gold mines Increase wetting of the sulfuric acid or cyanide that leaches the ore
 Ore leaching in Copper and gold mines Acid mist suppressing agents
 Ore floating Create stable aqueous foams to separate the metal salts from soil
 Separation of uranium contained in sodium carbonate and/or sodium bicarbonate solutions by nitrogen floatation Improve the separation
 Concentration of vanadium compounds Destruction of the mineral structure, increases the specific surface area and pore channel thus facilitating vanadium leaching

Music instruments

 Guitar strings Prevent loss of vibration due to residue build up
 Piano keys Contain polymeric PFAS
 Piano Eliminate squeaks in piano key

Nuclear industry

 Lubricants for valves and ultracentrifuge bearings in UF6 enrichment plants PFAS are used as the lubricants

Oil & gas industry

 Drilling fluid Foaming agent
 Drilling – insulating material for cable and Wire Polymeric PFAS are used as insulating material
 Chemical driven oil Production Increase the effective permeability of the formation
 Chemical driven oil Production Foaming agent for fracturing subterranean formations
 Chemical driven oil Production Heavy crude oil well polymer blocking remover
 Chemical driven gas Production Change low-permeability sandstone gas reservoir from strong hydrophilic to weak hydrophilic
 Chemical driven gas Production Eliminate reservoir capillary forces, dissolve partial solid, dis-assemble clogging, increase efficiency of displacing water with gas
 Oil and gas transport Lining of the pipes is made out of polymeric PFAS
 Oil and gas transport Reduce the viscosity of crude oil for pumping from the borehole through crude oil-in-water emulsions
 Oil and gas storage Aqueous layer with PFAS prevents evaporation loss
 Oil and gas storage Floating layer of cereal treated with PFAs prevents evaporation loss
 Oil containment (injection a Chemical barrier into Water) Prevents spreading of oils or gasoline on water
 Oil and fuel filtration Polymeric PFAS are used as membranes

Optical devices

 Glass Fibre optics Able to include rare earth in glass fibre optics
 Optical lenses Provide optical lenses with low refractive index and high transparency

Paper and packaging

 Paper and cardboard Provide water- and oil repellency
 Manufacturing of Paper Release agent for paper-coating compositions

Particle physics

 Particle accelerators Part of the detection assemblies

Personal care products

 Cosmetics Emulsifiers, lubricants, or oleophobic agents
 Cosmetics Make creams etc. penetrate the skin more easily
 Cosmetics Make the skin brighter
 Cosmetics Make the skin absorb more oxygen
 Cosmetics Make the makeup more durable and weather resistant
 Hair-conditioning formulations Enhance wet combing and render hair oleophobic


 Insecticide against the common housefly and carmine mite Suffocation of the insect by the adsorbed fluorinated surfactant
 Insecticide against ants and cockroaches ?
 Formulation additives Anti-foaming agent
 Formulation additives Dispersant, facilitate the spreading of plant protection agents on insects and plant leaves
 Formulation additives Dispersant, increase uptake by insects and plants
 Formulation additive Wetting agent for leaves

Pharmaceutical industry

 Reaction vessels, stirrers, and other components Use of polymeric PFAS instead of stainless steel
 Ultrapure Water systems Polymeric PFAS are used as filter
 Packaging Polymeric PFAS form moisture barrier film
 Manufacture of “microporous” particles Processing aid

Photographic industry

 Processing solutions Antifoaming agent
 Processing solutions Prevent formation of air bubbles in the solution
 Photographic materials, such as films and papers Wetting agents, emulsion additives, stabilizers and antistatic agent
 Photographic materials, such as films and papers Prevent spot formation and control edge uniformity in multilayer coatings
 Paper and plates Anti-reflective agents


 Active ingredient (fulvestrant) Estrogen antagonists, inhibits the growth stimulus that the estrogen exert on cells
 Active ingredient Pharmaceutical combination of dabigatran and proton pump inhibitors
 formulation additives Dispersant in self-propelling aerosol pharmaceuticals
 formulation additives Solvent

Pipes, pumps, fittings and liners

 Pipes, pipe plugs, seal glands, pump parts, fasteners, fittings and liners Polymeric PFAS are used for these applications
 Working fluid for pumps in the Electronics industry Stable to reactive gases and aluminium chloride

Plastic and rubber

 plastic Polymeric PFAS micropowder as additive ?
 Thermoplastic Plasticizer
 Bonding of rubber to steel Allow adhesiveness bonding
 rubber and plastic Antistatic agent
 resin Improve weatherability and elasticity
 Polycarbonate resins Flame retardant for polycarbonate resins

Printing (inks)

 Toner and printer ink Enhance ink flow and levelling, improve wetting, aid pigment dispersion
 Toner and printer ink Impart water resistance to water-based inks
 inkyet recording heads Make them ink repellent
 recording and printing Paper ?
 Lithographic printing plates ?

Production of plastic and rubber

 Separation of mould and moulded material Mould release agent
 Separation of mould and moulded material Reduce imperfections in the moulded surface
 Foam blowing Foam blowing agent
 Polyol foams Foam regulator
 Polymer processing aid Increase processing efficiency and quality of polymeric compounds
 Etching of plastic Wetting agent
 Production of rubber Antiblocking agent
 Fluoroelastomer formulation Additive in curatives

Refrigerant systems

 Refrigerant fluid system Heat transfer fluid
 Refrigerant compressor Lubricants

Sealants and adhesives

 Sealants Can be made out of polymeric PFAS
 Silicone rubber Seals Prevents soiling
 adhesives Improve levelling, spreading, and the penetration of the adhesive into the pore structure of the substrates
 adhesives Antistatic agent

Semiconductor industry

 Photoresist (itself) Photoresist matrix, changes solubility when exposed to light
 Photoresist (photosensitizer) Increase the photosensitivity of the photoresist
 Photoresist (photoacid generator) Generate strong acids by light irradiation
 Photoresist (quencher) Controlling the diffusion of the acid to unexposed region
 Antireflective Coating Provide low reflectivity
 Developer Facilitate the control of the development process
 Rinsing solution Rinsing the photoresist to remove the developer
 Etching Wetting agent
 Etching Reduce the reflection of the etching solution
 Etching Etching agent in dry etching
 cleaning of silicon wafers Etch cleaning
 cleaning of integrated circuit modules Remove cured epoxy resins
 cleaning vapour Deposition chamber Remove dielectric film build up
 Wafer thinning Non-stick coating composition on carrier wafer
 Vacuum pumps Working fluid
 Technical equipment in contact with process Chemical or reactive plasma Polymeric PFAS are used in inert moulds, pipes and elastomers
 Multilayer circuit board Bonding ply composition

Soil remediation

 vapour barrier material on top of contaminated Soil Evaporation retarder
 Surfactants to mobilize pollutants Surfactants to mobilize soil-bound contaminants in remediation


 vapour phase fluids in vapour phase soldering Heat transfer medium
 Fluxing agent in solder paste Low-foaming noncorrosive wetting agent

Sport article

 Ski wax Highly water repellent
 (Sailing) boat equipment Weather protection of textiles; anti-fouling protection of ship hulls
 Tennis rackets Used in coatings for tennis rackets
 Bicycle Lubricants
 Climbing ropes Provide water repellence, stain resistance and soil release
 Fishing lines No water absorption, invisible in water, high knot strength
 Golf gloves Antifouling protection for the natural sheep leather of the glove

Stone, concrete and tile

Impart oil and water repellency to the surface; delay oxidation and ageing of surface

Textile and upholstery

 Surface Treatment Provide water and oil repellence, stain resistance and soil release
 Waving yarn Facilitate waving

Textile production

 Dyeing and bleaching of textiles Wetting agent
 Dyeing process using sulphur dyes Antifoaming agent
 Dye transfer material Release agent
 Textile Treatment baths Antifoaming agent
 Fibre finishes Emulsifying agent

Tracing and tagging

 Tracking air–borne pollutants Tracer in air
 Testing Ventilation systems Tracer in air
 Mapping gas and petroleum reservoirs Tracer in gas or petroleum
 Leak detection in cables, pipelines, landfill waste and underground storage tanks Tracer in leaking material
 Tracking of marked items Tracer in the marked item

Watchmaking industry

 Lubricants Form an oil layer and reduced wear
 Drying as Production step after aqueous cleaning Solvents in solvent displacement drying

Water and effluent treatment

 Filter membranes Polymeric PFAS minimize the sorption of compounds to the filter itself

Wire and cable

Provide high-temperature endurance, fire resistance, and high-stress crack resistance

Wood industry

 Drum filtration during bleaching The used coarse fabric is made out of polymeric PFAS
 Coating for wood substrate Clear coating is made out of polymeric PFAS
 wood particleboard Part of adhesive resin