Fluoride Action Network

Guide: PFOS and PFOA: properties, incident management and toxicology

Source: Public Health England | July 1st, 2014
Location: United Kingdom
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

This guide to PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate, also called perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctylsulfonic acid, or 1-octanesulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid, sometimes called pentadecafluorooctanoic acid or perfluoroheptanecarboxylic acid) includes information on:

  • its properties and effects on health following exposure
  • how to respond to a chemical incident
  • its toxicology

These compounds are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs).

Key Points


• In the event of a fire involving PFOS or PFOA, use fine water spray and liquid tight kit with breathing apparatus


• Toxic by ingestion

• Repeated exposure by ingestion can cause stomach upset, liver toxicity and effects on thyroid hormones

• Skin or eye contact can cause irritation

• Prolonged exposure may cause cancer


• Dangerous for the environment

• Inform Environment Agency of substantial incident

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