Agent Name

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid

Alternative Name


CAS Number




Major Category

Other Classes


PFOS; 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-Heptadecafluoro-1-octanesulfonic acid; 1-Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid; EF 101; Eftop EF 101; Heptadecafluoro-1-octanesulfonic acid; Heptadecafluorooctane-1-sulphonic acid; PFOS; Perfluorooctane sulfonate; Perfluorooctylsulfonic acid; 1-Octanesulfonic acid, 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-heptadecafluoro-; [ChemIDplus]


Perfluoroalkyl Acids


Liquid; [HSDB] Off-white to grey liquid; [MSDSonline]


Used as a surfactant in fire-fighting foams, alkaline cleaners, floor polishes, metal plating baths, and etching acids for circuit boards; Also used as an acid catalyst for photoresists and the active ingredient for ant bait traps; [HSDB] PFOS and its precursors used as protective surface coatings (i.e. carpets, fabrics, and food packaging) and in specialty chemicals (i.e. fire-fighting foams, hydraulic fluids, mining and oil-well surfactants, and consumer products); [Reference #2] "The manufacturing of PFOS began in the United States in 1948. In 2000, the major manufacturer, 3M Corporation, announced that it would stop making many of its well-known Scotchgard stain-repellent products after finding the PFOS persists in the environment and is found widely in numerous species, including humans." [PMID 21346631]


Animals given high doses develop liver enlargement and elevated cholesterol. "The presence of PFOS in nonoccupationally exposed populations and wildlife has raised concerns about the environmental and health effects of PFOS and prompted the phase-out of the production of POSF-based chemicals by the major producer." A study of 1895 employees in PFOS-exposed jobs, no increased risks for several cancers, low birth weights, or other common health problems were found. [Reference #1] Caused severe eye irritation in rabbits in one study, and mild to moderate irritation in several others; Histopathological changes to the liver observed in two year feeding study with rats with doses as low as 0.06-0.23 (males) and 0.007-0.21 (females) mg/kg body weight; Increased frequency of hepatocellular adenomas seen in chronic animal studies at the highest doses (greater than doses which caused non-neoplastic effects); No evidence of mutagenicity in various in vitro and in vivo assays; Teratogenic effects (incomplete skull closure) observed at doses below maternal NOEL in rats; Effects in a multi-generational study with rats (F1 generation) include significant reductions in litter sizes, viability and lactation indices, and slower development pups; [Reference #2] Corrosive to skin and eyes; A respiratory tract irritant; Can be absorbed through skin; "Animal studies conducted on organic fluorochemicals which are present in this product indicate effects including liver disturbances, weight loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, and neurological, pancreatic, adrenal and hematologic effects. There are no known human health effects from anticipated exposure to these organic fluorochemicals when used as intended and instructed." [MSDSonline: 3M MSDS]


3M to phase out perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOs) by 2001; [HSDB]

Reference Link

Self-reported medical conditions in perfluorooctanesulfonyl fluoride manufacturing workers.

Exposure Assessment

0.01 mg/m3, inhalable fraction

Lethal Concentration

LC50 (rat) = 5,200 mg/m3

Reference Link

Health Canada: Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) - 2006

Adverse Effects

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

Links to Other NLM Databases
Health Studies

Human Health Effects from Hazardous Substances Data Bank:

Toxicity Information


Chemical Information

Search ChemIDplus

Biomedical References

Search PubMed

Related Information in HazMap

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: