PFAS ('forever chemicals')

Discover what PFAS (per-and poly fluoroalkyl substances) are, their uses and how they are monitored. 

What are PFAS and where do they come from?

PFAS (per-and poly fluoroalkyl substances) are from a chemical family consisting of at least 5,000 individual substances. They are sometimes referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ because of their persistence in the environment.

In manufacturing, PFAS are favoured for their durability and useful properties such as non-stick, water repellence and anti-grease. PFAS are used in the manufacture of many domestic products, including:

    • skin creams and cosmetics
    • car and floor polish
    • rinse aid for dishwashers
    • textile and fabric treatments
    • food packaging and microwave popcorn bags
    • baking equipment
    • frying pan
    • outdoor clothing and shoes.

They also have many widespread uses in industry, including in firefighting foam.

Frequently asked questions