Fluorinated chemistries are a broad and diverse group of chemistries with differing characteristics, structures and uses making it important to consider the safety and environmental impacts of each substance individually. Although FluoroCouncil member companies do not participate in the production and use of all fluorinated chemistries, we have expertise in two types of chemistries that are important to everyday life: fluoropolymers and fluorotelomers. All fluorinated chemistries currently produced by FluoroCouncil member companies are well studied, and data from these studies have been provided to regulators globally as part of their new chemical review processes.
Fluoropolymers: Fluoropolymers have unmatched thermal and chemical stability, providing strength, resilience, and durability for the reliable function of a variety of products and industries. Fluoropolymers are high molecular weight polymers that are extremely stable, too large to be bioavailable or toxic, insoluble in water and not mobile, do not degrade in the environment into perfluoroalkyl acids, and therefore, present no significant risk to human health or the environment. As a result, regulators do not require the development of significant toxicity data on fluoropolymers.1
Fluorotelomers: Fluorotelomer-based polymers provide protective surface finishes for textiles, carpeting, and specialized paper. Key uses of fluorotelomer-based surfactants include Class B firefighting foams as well as in many paint and coating applications. The scientific evidence indicates that the current fluorotelomer-based chemistries offer significantly reduced absorption, more rapid clearance from humans and wildlife, and an improved environmental profile over the older fluorinated chemistries they replaced. Fluorotelomers are well-studied and the evidence shows these chemistries meet relevant regulatory standards for the protection of human health and the environment. An overview of relevant studies regarding the health and environmental profiles of key fluorotelomer-based chemistries can be viewed here.
Fluoropolymers and fluorotelomers are well-studied and the evidence shows these chemistries meet relevant regulatory standards for the protection of human health and the environment. Learn more.
The manufacture and commercial use of fluoropolymers and fluorotelomers, like all polymers and chemicals, are subject to review by regulatory bodies around the world. More information about the agencies that are charged with chemical oversight is available here.
1 Henry, B. J., Carlin, J. P., Hammerschmidt, J. A., Buck, R. C., Buxton, L. W., Fiedler, H. , Seed, J. and Hernandez, O. (2018), A critical review of the application of polymer of low concern and regulatory criteria to fluoropolymers. Integr Environ Assess Manag, 14: 316-334. doi: 10.1002/ieam.4035