A family of persistent organic pollutants (POP) that appear to be ubiquitous in the environment, and which are causing considerable concern, because their origin and toxicity are unknown. They were thought to be relatively inert and unlikely to leach into the environment. One such substance, known to be toxic, perfluorooctane sulphonate (PFOS), has been found in animals and humans worldwide, and the major manufacturer announced a voluntary ban on its production in 2000. A similar group of compounds, perfluorocarboxylates, includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is a precursor of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon), with many commercial and industrial uses, such as non-stick cooking utensils, and stainproofing of carpets, fabrics, and furniture.
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.