How Fluorochemistries Are Safely Used

Because certain fluorochemistries can be found in water, people have questions about whether there are potential impacts to their health. 3M is committed to sharing our knowledge about health science to help people better understand this important topic.

What to Know

Extensive research has been done on fluorochemistries, especially PFOS and PFOA, to determine if these substances affect people’s health.

  • Researchers from around the world have studied these materials for decades and haven’t found a definitive causal relationship between PFOA or PFOS exposure and any health condition.
  • While some research shows that these materials are associated with negative health outcomes, other studies don’t reach the same conclusions.
    • The difference between association and causation is important to understand. Two things might be associated or linked with one another, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a cause and effect relationship.
  • An extensive review of more than 20 independent studies on exposure to fluorochemistries and cancer found that evidence for a link between cancer and PFAS is “sparse.”
  • Some people have concerns about PFOA and PFOS blood levels. These materials have been phased out of manufacturing in many countries, including the United States, and levels in people have been steadily declining.
    • Several fluorochemicals that are related to current manufacturing are eliminated from the body relatively more quickly than PFOA and PFOS – so much so that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspended testing for one of these C4 sulfonate fluorochemicals, PFBS, after not detecting it for long periods.


Did you know?

While some studies have linked legacy fluorochemicals to some conditions at very high doses not typically found in everyday life, it is important to have more context to understand the issue and make choices for people’s health.

Some agencies around the world have set drinking water limits or health advisories for some fluorochemicals, including interim levels for PFOA and PFOS.

Find answers to our most frequently asked Health and Safety questions.


View 3M’s position on recent news relating to fluorochemistry regulation and stewardship.

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Get Involved

3M welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with external stakeholders who share our goal of advancing the science of fluorochemistry.         

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