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CMNS 137 - Technical Writing and Communications I

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of nearly 5,000 synthetic chemicals that have been used in manufacturing various products since the 1940s.

PFASs are oil-water and heat resistant, making them very useful in all manner of products. In Canada, PFAS are found in various industrial and consumer products such as adhesives, cosmetics, cleaning products, fire-fighting foams, fabrics, paper products, food fast-food packaging, etc. Perhaps the most widely known product containing PSASs is Teflon®.

PFAS is commonly referred to as "Forever Chemicals" because they are immune to degradation, and it is assumed that natural breakdown in the environment does not happen.

Blood studies in the US demonstrated PFAS chemicals' presence in the blood of 96 percent of the test subjects. A court-ordered multiyear study determined that human subjects exposed to PFASs exhibited a "probable link" between exposure to PFASs and a range of diseases, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, pregnancy-induced hypertension/preeclampsia, and ulcerative colitis.

Carluccio, T. (2019). PFAS - A national problem with personal costs. https://www.wateronline.com/doc/pfas-a-national-problem-with-personal-costs-0001#:~:text=Blood%20studies%20show%20the%20presence,polar%20bears%20in%20the%20Arctic

On July 1, 2006, the Ministers of the Environment and Health published their final decision on the assessment of PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonate) one of the main PFASs,  Their assessment concluded that PFOS, "are or may be entering the environment in a quantity or concentration or under conditions that have or may have an immediate or long-term harmful effect on the environment or its biodiversity."  

Canada. (2020). Toxic substances list: PFOShttps://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/management-toxic-substances/list-canadian-environmental-protection-act/perfluorooctane-sulfonate.html

 

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