The possible health effects of human exposure to PFC/PFAS. PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFNA


Scientists are not sure about the possible health effects of human exposure to PFC/PFAS. PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFNA have been more widely studied than other PFC/PFAS. For the most part, studies have found that animals exposed to PFC/PFAS have shown changes in the function of the liver, thyroid, pancreas, and hormone levels. However, scientists are not sure how animal data applies to human exposure, because PFC/PFAS behave differently in humans than they do in animals and may be harmful in different ways.

PFC/PFAS build up and remain in the human body and the amount reduces very slowly over time. So scientists and doctors are concerned about their effects on human health. While the evidence is inconclusive, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) some studies in humans have shown that certain PFC/PFAS may be associated with developmental delays in the fetus and child, including possible changes in growth, learning, and behavior decreased fertility and changes to the body’s natural hormones,  increased cholesterol, changes to the immune system, increased uric acid levels, changes in liver enzymes, and prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer. More research is needed to confirm or rule out possible links between health outcomes of potential concern and exposure to PFC/PFAS.

Additional reference is available on: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfc/health_effects_pfcs.html and https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos.

Health Effects Q&A’s can be found here HealthEffects.pdf