PFAS or Per- and Poly-FluoroAlkyl Substances are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been used widely since the 1950s in household and industrial products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. Common uses include non-stick cookware, stain and water-resistant treatment on fabrics, food packaging, in cleaning and beauty products and firefighting foam.

The application of PFAS means they are water soluble and do not easily break down. As a result, they are commonly found and are persistent in the environment giving them the label of forever chemicals.

The use of PFAS in everyday household items from cosmetics to detergents and sunscreen, is a challenge for wastewater systems as they are washed down the drain and into the wastewater system.

The industry has proactively recognised the evidence-based risk associated with PFAS and has engaged in the development of the current and previous versions of the PFAS National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP).

The industry also invests in research projects and initiatives which provide evidence to inform monitoring, treatment, and policy decisions. Through the investment in this type of research, outputs include more effective and cost-efficient processes and technologies to treat and destroy PFAS, while trying to better understand the specific risks associated with PFAS.


AuthorWater Services Association of Australia
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PFAS Fact Sheet September 2022 PDF