Per- and poly-fluoalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemical compounds that are used in a wide range of products including common household products such as non-stick cookware, food packaging and stain-resistant textiles.
They are also used in some fire fighting foams—specifically aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF)—which have the ability to spread over the surface of hydrocarbon-based liquids. AFFF is still used for fire suppression in many industries including petrochemical and aviation and some public fire services.
Two common PFAS are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOS and PFOA have unique surfactant properties and many specialty applications including heat, chemical and abrasion resistance and as dispersion, wetting and surface treatments. They are extremely heat stable and resistant to breakdown.