Also known as: perfluorooctanoic acid, C8
|Purpose/ Definition||PFOA is a synthetic chemical used as a processing aid in the manufacture of non-stick coatings, such as Teflon. PFOA is also used in food packaging designed to repel grease. Microwave popcorn bags have the most PFOA of any food wrappers. It may also occur in pizza boxes and candy wrappers. Teflon, and other fluorotelomer coatings, can break down into PFOA.|
|Health Effects||U. S. Environmental Protection Agency considers PFOA a likely human carcinogen. EPA states that PFOA causes developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.|
|Exposure||Humans may ingest PFOA when eating some microwave popcorns. PFOA can migrate from the bag to the popcorn oil. It can also off-gas from heated microwave popcorn bags and non-stick pans. A 2007 study published in Environmental Science & Technology found PFOA in microwave popcorn vapors. As well, the authors found, “…residual PFOA is not completely removed during the fabrication process of the nonstick coating for cookware.They remain as residuals on the surface and may be off-gassed when heated at normal cooking temperatures.” source: Environmental Science & Technology|
|Occurrence||According to the EPA, “PFOA is very persistent in the environment and was being found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population…PFOA also appears to remain in the human body for a long time.” A February 2006 study from Johns Hopkins found PFOA in 298 of 300 umbilical cords sources: EPA and Baltimore Sun|
|History||December 2005: DuPont agrees to pay the highest settlement in EPA history ($10.25 million plus $6.25 million in environmental projects) for failing to provide the EPA with a study that found PFOA transferred from a pregnant worker to her fetus and other pertinent toxicological information regarding PFOA.
January 2006: Eight major manufacturers of PFOA, including DuPont, BASF Corporation, 3M, Clariant, and Solvay Solexis, agree to reduce facility emissions and product content of PFOA by 95% no later than 2010 (based on 2000 levels). They also agree to work towards elimination of PFOA by 2015.
October 2008: EPA summarizes data from all eight companies showing reductions in emissions and product content ranging from 4% to 99%. EPA 2008 tables.
|LMG Articles of Interest||Breathe Easy This Winter: Keeping Indoor Air Clean, November 2011
Municipal Water Testing: Can We Pass and Still Fail?, Part Two, April 2011
Pop Goes the PFOA, Winter 2007