Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Substances: Fluorotelomer alcohol 8+2 (8:2 FTOH), Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHXA), Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDOA), 1,1,2,2-Tetrahydroperfluoro-1-dodecanol, Perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA), Perfluorohexane sulfonate potassium salt (PFHSKslt), Potassium perfluorobutane sulfonate (potassium PFBS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA)
Nominated: September 1990; August 2003
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a large group of manufactured compounds widely used to make everyday products more resistant to stains, grease, and water. For example, these chemicals are used to keep food from sticking to cookware, make stain-resistant sofas and carpets, waterproof clothing and mattresses, and may also be used in some food packaging, as well as in some firefighting materials. Because they help reduce friction, they are also used in a variety of other industries including aerospace, automotive, building and construction, and electronics.
As a class, PFAS contains thousands of chemicals. Humans can be exposed to PFAS through a variety of ways. Ingestion—particularly through drinking water—is the main way individuals or communities are exposed, but recent studies suggest that other exposure pathways, including inhalation and skin absorption, also contribute.
NTP is working to assess the potential health effects of PFAS through a large research effort with multiple facets including experimental animal and cell-based test systems, literature review, and computer modeling, among others.
What did the studies find?
See table below for the most up-to-date information on the variety of projects taking place at NTP.
|Study||Description||Status||Findings & Supporting Files|
|28-Day Toxicity Studies||Study in rats comparing toxicity of short- and long-chain carboxylates (n = 4) and sulfonates (n = 3)||Completed||Findings:
|2-Year Toxicity and Carcinogenicity Studies||Comparison of cancer/toxicity outcomes in rats with lifetime exposure to PFOA, and those with only post-weaning exposure to PFOA||Ongoing||Supporting files:
|Toxicokinetic Studies||An evaluation of chemical clearance from the body, known as toxicokinetics, for seven PFAS chemicals in rats||Ongoing||Findings:
|Immunotoxicity Studies||Rat and cell-based studies to determine the potential of PFAS to impact immune system function||Completed||Findings:
|Neurotoxicity Studies||Cell-based studies in rat neuron-like cells to evaluate potential neurotoxicity of four PFAS||Completed||Findings:
|Mitochondrial Toxicity Studies||Cell-based studies of 16 PFAS to evaluate the potential to inhibit rat mitochondria function||Completed||Findings:
|Health Effects Assessment|
|2016 NTP Monograph||Literature-based systematic review of PFAS’ impacts on the human immune system||Completed||Findings:
|Responsive Evaluation and Assessment of Chemical Toxicity (REACT) Program|
|REACT PFAS||An approach using cell-based tests comparing individual PFAS to identify common or overlapping patterns of toxicity; enables a class of chemicals to be screened for wide range of biological effects||Ongoing||Supporting files:|
- Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Updated March 2019
- NTP Board of Scientific Counselors Meeting, Research Triangle Park, NC, December 7-8, 2017
Stay Informed & Contact Us
Subscribe to receive email to stay informed about this area of research and other NTP information.