Perfluorooctanoic acid

PFOA, Pentadecafluorooctanoic acid; formula: C8HF15O2; CAS Registry Number: 335-67-1
Structure of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
Source: GSBL Joint Substance Database

Fluorocarbon with 8 C-atoms

Perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) is a fluorosurfactant with a polar carboxylic group and a hydrophobic and und lipophobic (water- and fat-repellent) perfluorinated C-chain. Due to these properties it is widely used for instance in textile-, leather- and paper-impregnation and sealing of stone, tiles and wood. PFOA is component of waxes, cable insulations, industrial cleaning agents and fire-fighting foams. In its acid form it is an intermediate in fluoroacrylic production. Its salts are mainly used as emulsifiers in the production of fluoropolymers such as polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE, tradenames Teflon®, Gore-Tex®), polyvinylidene fluoride and fluoroelastomers.
During production and use it may be emitted into the environment. It is highly persistent and may be subject to long-range transport. PFOA has a high potential for bioaccumulation. In animal experiments it is carcinogenic, toxic and endrocrine disruptive. It is toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.

Risk assessment of PFOA is still ongoing. Nevertheless, under the leadership of the US-EPA six producers of PFOA have agreed on a voluntary 95%-reduction of PFOA emissions by 2010 and a complete renouncement by 2015.


Zebra mussel Common mussel species as invasive animal in rivers and lakes with high information level for water pollution
Bream Bioindicator in rivers and lakes
Suspended particulate matter Fine insoluble mineral or organic particles in the water phase
Common bladder wrack Common brown alga of the coastal areas of the North and Baltic Sea
Blue mussel One of the most important edible mussel species common in the North and Baltic Sea
Eelpout As the only viviparous fish in German nearshore waters, it is a bioindicator in nearshore coastal marine ecosystems.
Herring gull Inshore, the herring gull mainly feeds from the sea: upon fish, mussels, and crabs.
Common spruce A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
Pine A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
Lombardy poplar A deciduous tree typical of ecosystems close to dense conurbations and an indicator for the characterisation of the immission situation during the vegetation period.
Beech As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
Roe deer, one-year-old The roe deer is the most common of the larger herbivores (first order-consumer) to be found in the wild in Europe.
Earthworm (Aporrectodea longa) As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
Earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris) As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
Soil Soil is livelihood and biosphere for humans, animals, plants and soil organisms. All the substances brought in are transported, transformed and/or accumulated in the soil.
Students Student groups with an even number of female and male students at the age of 20 to 29.

Sampling area

BR/NP Berchtesgaden The only high mountains national park in Germany and an area of the Limestone Alps with international relevance
Saarländischer Verdichtungsraum Important, old-industrialised conurbation in Germany.
Bornhöveder Seengebiet Main water divide between the North- and Baltic Sea
Rhein Longest river in Germany
NP Bayerischer Wald Germany's first national park
NP Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park in the largest brackish water (Bodden) habitat of the world.
BR/NP Wattenmeere National park in the world largest connected sand and mud flats.
Elbe Fourth largest river basin in Central Europe
Verdichtungsraum Halle-Leipzig Region in the chemical triangle of Central Germany
NP Harz Germany's largest forest national park
Solling Second highest and largest low mountain range in Northern Germany
BR Pfälzerwald Germany's largest connected forest area in a range of low mountains
Oberbayerisches Tertiärhügelland The Upper Bavarian Tertiary Uplands are a part of the Southern German Molasse Basin
Donau Second largest river in Europe
Sampling sites (humans) 4 university cities as sampling areas.

Sampling period

1982 - 2019

Extended information

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