Technologies that help keep us safe, connected, happy and healthy are enabled through fluorochemistries. The key is understanding how we can work together to manufacture and use these materials responsibly for their important properties.
The science of fluorochemistry is very complex, and people may have questions about how – or even if – fluorochemistries can be safely used. To help share the facts, we’ve compiled commonly asked questions about the manufacture and use of fluorochemistries today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kinds of products are fluorochemistries used in?
Fluorochemistries have been used in everyday products for decades. Their unique properties, like durability and water repellency, are important for many parts of modern life.
Fluorochemistries are used today to help make:
- Medical technologies, such as heart patches that are used for cardiac reconstructions
- Electronics, such as smart phones, wearable fitness trackers, and tablets
- Automobiles and airplanes, including electric and conventional vehicles, as well as commercial airplanes
- Medicines and pharmaceuticals, including life-saving chemotherapy and common prescription medicines that treat conditions like anxiety or depression
- Military and national security technologies, including aircraft control systems and safety equipment
Why do some people call fluorochemistries “Forever Chemicals”?
Some activists and media call fluorochemistries “forever chemicals” because they are slow to break down naturally. The term “forever chemicals” is inaccurate, though, because there are many technologies that are highly effective at capturing and treating fluorochemistries where needed. In addition, researchers worldwide are working to find new and better ways to manage these materials.
The strong, durable bond between carbon and fluorine atoms is slow to break down – which can help make products that use fluorochemistries very durable in applications where that is important.
Can PFAS be safely manufactured and used?
Yes. People may have questions about their safety when considering how common fluorochemistries are in everyday life. Fluorochemistries have been safely used in products like cell phones for decades.
In communities where 3M manufactures fluorochemistries, we are taking action to reduce discharges and help protect the environment. We have committed to invest more than $1 billion to help achieve our corporate environmental goals, including reducing overall water use and improving the quality of water that leaves our manufacturing facilities.
3M is also taking proactive steps to reduce our reliance on PFAS through innovation. We will exit PFAS manufacturing and work to discontinue the use of PFAS across our product portfolio by the end of 2025.
Is it dangerous for me to live near a site that makes or uses fluorochemistries?
Fluorochemistries can be safely and responsibly manufactured. All around the world, 3M is investing in technologies that will help reduce our environmental footprint, including through technologies that capture fluorochemistries and prevent them from entering the environment. To learn more, click here