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Perfluorooctanoic acid ("PFOA")

Perfluorooctanoic acid ("PFOA")

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic perfluorinated carboxylic acid and fluorosurfactant. It is a type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), known for its high resistance to heat, water, and oil. PFOA has been widely used in industrial applications and consumer products, including:

  • Non-stick cookware (e.g., Teflon)
  • Water-repellent fabrics and carpets
  • Food packaging materials
  • Firefighting foams

Due to its chemical stability, PFOA does not break down easily in the environment or in the human body, leading to its accumulation over time. This persistence has raised significant environmental and health concerns. 

Studies1 have linked PFOA exposure to various health issues, including cancer, thyroid disease, and developmental effects in children. Consequently, the use of PFOA has been phased out or heavily restricted in many countries, including Australia, in favour of safer fluorine-free fire-fighting foam alternatives.


    In preparing this definition, we have drawn from various sources including Legislation, Codes, Standards and industry information, research and knowledge.  Like the english language, these definitions may subtly change from time to time. As such these definitions are provided solely on the basis that users will be responsible for making their own assessment of the definition and and are advised to verify all relevant representations, statements and information.