Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) (or Fluorocarbons) are essentially alkane but with the ‘H’sreplaced with ‘F’. They are extremely stable compounds – much more stable than alkanes (why?)
They have a variety of uses – as water repellents (in clothing and furniture), non-stick items (such as frying pans and in floor waxes or coated paper.
Due to their unreactivity, they do not breakdown in nature very easily and tend to accumulate in the environment.
They can enter the body through the diet (for example, in fish) or by absorption.
PFC’s have been linked to endocrine disruption, birth defects and liver and thyroid damage. The EPA (in the US) regards them as harmful to the environment.