PFAS's are a major group of environmental contaminants that have been used in various industries since their invention in the 1930's. These chemicals were recognized as beneficial because of their unique properties, including temperature resistance, oil and water repellency, and friction reduction. This large group of complex man-made chemicals can be found in many of the products we use every day including household cleaning products, food packaging, textiles, cookware, electronics, fire-fighting foams, and many other commonly used products.
Due to recent research on the health impacts of PFAS, some of these chemicals have been phased out of use, but with over 3,000 known PFAS's, many of them are still used with little known about their impacts. Researchers are currently working to develop a comprehensive library list of all PFAS's that can be detected in the environment. Some of the most common PFAS's that are used in various industries include PFOA, PFOS and GenX. At this time, more research has been conducted on PFOA and PFOS than GenX, but recent studies do indicate that these compounds are not easily broken down in nature and can have lasting impacts as they remain in the environment and circulate back into our food and water sources via contamination to drinking water and soils.