Fluorinated alternatives to long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs), perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs) and their potential precursors

Environ Int. 2013 Oct;60:242-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2013.08.021.


Since 2000 there has been an on-going industrial transition to replace long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids(PFCAs), perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs) and their precursors. To date, information on these replacements including their chemical identities, however, has not been published or made easily accessible to the public, hampering risk assessment and management of these chemicals. Here we review information on fluorinated alternatives in the public domain. We identify over 20 fluorinated substances that are applied in [i] fluoropolymer manufacture, [ii] surface treatment of textile, leather and carpets, [iii] surface treatment of food contact materials,[iv] metal plating, [v] fire-fighting foams, and [vi] other commercial and consumer products.We summarize current knowledge on their environmental releases, persistence, and exposure of biota and humans. Based on the limited information available, it is unclear whether fluorinated alternatives are safe for humans and the environment.We identify three major data gaps that must be filled to perform meaningful risk assessments and recommend generation of the missing data through cooperation among all stakeholders (industry, regulators, academic scientists and the public).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carboxylic Acids / chemistry*
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / chemistry*
  • Fluorocarbons / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Manufactured Materials / analysis*
  • Polymers / chemical synthesis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sulfonic Acids / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties
  • Textiles / analysis*


  • Carboxylic Acids
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Polymers
  • Sulfonic Acids