PFOA is an acronym for perfluorooctanoic acid, a synthetic (man-made) chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment. PFOA is sometimes called "C8."
Companies use PFOA to make fluoropolymers, substances with special properties that have thousands of important manufacturing and industrial applications. PFOA can also be produced by the breakdown of some fluorinated telomers, substances that are used in surface treatment products to impart soil, stain, grease, and water resistance. PFOA is very persistent in the environment and has been found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population. Studies indicate that PFOA can cause developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals.