Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), previously known as per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are pollutants that, due to reports of their global distribution, persistence, toxicity, and bioaccumulation potential, are of increasing concern for public health and the environment. Of these substances, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are among the latest chemicals to be categorized as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention.

These compounds have been produced commercially since the 1950s and are used in a variety of consumer and industrial applications such as Scotchgard™ to protect fabric, furniture and carpets from stains, as mist suppressants in the metal plating industry, as hydraulic fluid in the aviation industry, as surfactants in the photography industry and as fire-fighting foams.
Known firefighting applications with PFAS include Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFF™) and Alcohol Type Concentrate (ATC™) that are used to extinguish Class B fires that involve flammable fuels. With its ability to migrate in water, PFAS can be found in soil, concrete, groundwater, surface water and sediments.

A non-exhaustive list of industries known to use PFAS and the corresponding applications are included below:

Industry Examples of Uses
Aerospace Brake and hydraulic fluids, wire and cable, thermal control and radiator surfaces
Air conditioning Working fluid
Ammunition Reduces likelihood of unplanned explosion due to shock, prevents degradation of polymer coatings
Apparel Breathable membranes, water-resistant finish
Automotive Automotive waxes (resistant), windshield wiper fluid (prevents icing), heat transfer fluid, stain-resistant coatings on carpets and seats, glass, and some engine parts
Biotechnology Cell cultivation, filtration and microporous membranes
Building and construction Architectural membranes (e.g. roofs), cement additive, cable and wire insulation
Chemical industry Production of chlorine and caustic soda, processing aids, extrusion films, solvents, inert reaction media
Cleaners Wetting agent, stabilizes dry cleaning fluids
Coatings, paints and varnishes Emulsifier in paint, anti-stick coatings, coatings for food contact materials
Cookware Prevent sticking to the pan
Electronics Heat transfer fluids, etching solution, cleaning solvent, dielectric fluids
Electroplating Chrome, nickel, copper, tin, and zinc plating
Energy (non-oil or gas) Photovoltaic cells (repels dirt, highly transparent coating), coal power plants (filters ash fly from smoke), lithium ion batteries: binder for electrodes, prevents thermal runaway reactions, electrolyte solvent
Firefighting foam Film former, foam stabilizer, flame retardant
Floor coverings Soil-release finishes for carpets, stain resistant coatings, added to floor polish as wetting agent, additive to laminated floor covering
Glass Dirt-repellant and mist prevention, wetting agent, etching baths, solvent displacement when drying
Laboratory supplies Polymeric PFAS used for consumable materials like vials and caps, some columns filter with polymeric PFAS
Leather Water and oil resistant coatings, aids in manufacturing leather (hydrating, degreasing)
Machinery and equipment Coating metal surfaces, etching baths, water removal from processed parts
Medical equipment Contrast agents in 19f NMR imaging, wetting agents, emulsion additives, and stabilizers in x-ray films, raw material for contact lenses, delivery agent for eye drops, surgical patches, toothpaste (enhances fluoroapatite formation), dental floss, UV-hardened dental restorative materials, artificial heart pump (blood compatible and durable)
Mining Ore floatation/separation, copper and gold ore leaching,
Musical instruments Guitar strings, piano keys
Nuclear industry Lubricants for valves and ultracentrifuge bearings in enrichment plants
Oil and gas Foaming agent in drilling fluid, fracking fluid, pipe lining, preventing evaporation loss during storage
Optical devices Optical lenses with low refractive index and high transparency
Personal care products Emulsifiers, lubricants, stabilizers in cosmetics and hair conditioners
Pesticides Active ingredient for killing houseflies or cockroaches, antifoaming agent, dispersant to facilitate spreading of active ingredients on insects and plant leaves, wetting agent for leaves (PFAS is not currently used as an active or inert ingredient in us pesticides, but may be used in packaging materials for pesticides)
Pharmaceutical industry Reaction vessels, stirrers, and other lab equipment, polymeric PFAS as filters, polymers used as packaging
Photographic industry Antifoaming agent in processing solutions, wetting agent for photographic films and papers, anti-reflective agent for paper and plates
Plastic and rubber production Mold lining, etching plastic, anti-blocking agent for rubber production, additive in curatives for fluoroelastomer formation, improves weather resistance
Printing Toner and printer ink to improve ink flow, improve wetting, aid pigment dispersion and impart water resistance to water-based inks
Refrigerant systems Heat transfer fluids, lubricants
Semiconductor industry Wetting and etching agent, cleaner to remove cured epoxy resins or films, nonstick coatings, increases photosensitivity of the photoresist layer, provides antireflective coating
Sports Ski wax (highly water repellant), weather protection of sailing boat equipment, coatings for tennis rackets, fishing line, artificial turf
Stone, concrete, and tile Oil and water repellant coatings (improves durability, reduces oxidation of surface)
Textile production Wetting agent, antifoaming agent during dyeing and bleaching of textiles, dye transfer material, emulsifying agent for fiber finishes, coating for PPE used by firefighters
Watchmaking Aid in drying after cleaning parts, used in lubricants
Wood industry Coatings for food surfaces, part of adhesive resin for wood particleboard

The chemicals within PFAS require decontamination and treatment before they are disposed of. When used in firefight AFFF™ must be collected and treated as soon as safely possible, as it may otherwise seep into the surrounding ground or water.

ACV Enviro can help you identify, collect and process PFAS chemicals within your company keeping your organization compliant under the latest regulatory standards. ACV Enviro accepts the following:

• AFFF™, firefighting foam, fire-related debris
• Contaminated or impacted soil, sludge, or bio solids
• Wastewater, leachate, filter cake

ACV Enviro has the team to help from start-to-finish – give us a call at 844-CALL-ACV today.

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