Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid

PFOS, Heptadecafluorooctanesulfonic acid; formula: C8HF17O3S; CAS Registry Number: 1763-23-1
Structure of Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid  (PFOS)
Source: GSBL Joint Substance Database

Fluorocarbon with 8 C-atoms and one sulfonic acid group

Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a fluorosurfactant with a nonpolar fully fluorinated C-chain and a polar sulfonic group. It is widely used for impregnation of textiles, leather and paper and is a component of polishes, paints, varnishes, cleaning agents and hydraulic fluids used in aerospace industry. Furthermore, it is used in metal working and photochemistry. PFOS was the key ingredient in Scotchgard™ surface protection products produced by 3M. Together with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) it was a major component of the AFFF-fire-fighting foams (aqueous film forming foam).
During production and use PFOS may enter the environment. It is highly persistent and may spread in the environment reaching even remote areas like the Arctic and Antarctica. PFOS has a high potential for bioaccumulation and can magnify in the food web. It is toxic and suspected to be carcinogenic and reproductive toxic. In the aquatic environment, PFOS may cause long-term adverse effects.

Because of these unfavourable properties, the primary producer 3M has declared a voluntarily phase-out in production of PFOS by 2001. Since 2008, the use of PFOS is restricted in the EU, and in 2009 PFOS and its salts as well as perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride (PFOSF) were included in Annex B of the Stockholm Convention (restriction of production and usage).


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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