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PFAS: The Risks, Regulations, and Responsibility to Develop Sustainable Solutions

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Updated on February 27, 2024

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), due to the strength of their carbon-fluorine bonds, are imbued with extremely useful properties — chemical inertness, hydrophobicity and thermal stability being chief among them.

And because PFAS are strong, durable, water-resistant and heat-resistant, they have been incorporated into virtually every consumer and industrial product, ranging from cosmetics to construction materials, since being developed in the 1940s.

What are the risks of PFAS?

Public concern regarding PFAS has grown in the past decade, as the harmful impacts of “forever chemicals” continue to become more well-known. Studies have shown concerning associations between PFAS concentrations in humans and certain types of cancer, birth defects, reproductive toxicity and a host of other serious health risks.

Unless mitigated, the ongoing bioaccumulation and biomagnification of PFAS within the environment will ultimately result in unsafe levels of PFAS occurring in more and more people.

PFAS Regulations

Emerging PFAS regulations all over the world — including an imminent ban in the European Union (EU) and a variety of new rules and laws enacted at the state and federal levels in the United States — are focused on reducing the further accumulation of “forever chemicals” in the environment. The U.S. and European regulations alone will have significant impacts on just about every company in the global marketplace.

To comply, companies will have to make significant changes within research and development, supply chains and modes of production. Any failure to comply could result in health and safety risks, fines, lawsuits, uninsured liabilities, product delays, recalls, higher costs, lost market share and lost revenue — not to mention reputational harm.

Daunting as it seems, the shift away from PFAS offers a tremendous opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves in the marketplace — not only as innovators, but as leaders at the vanguard of safety and sustainability.

This white paper provides an in-depth overview of the harms, regulations and liabilities associated with PFAS, along with the solutions Actalent offers in support of PFAS mitigation, chemical substitution, compliance, sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.

*Originally published on December 19, 2023

Topics Covered in the White Paper

PFAS Risks

  • Common PFAS applications
  • PFAS life cycle
  • PFAS contamination in the environment
  • PFAS effects on plant and animals
  • Human health risks associated with PFAS exposure

PFAS Regulations

  • Existing and proposed PFAS regulations around the world


  • Examples of proposed and enacted restrictions in the U.S.
  • Achieving sustainability and improving ESG scorecards