Latest Issue of Science News


Nonstick but not nontoxic

From Chicago, at the EPA Emerging Pollutants Workshop

A growing number of products designed to shun both water and oil rely on fluorine-based compounds. The nonstick chemicals also serve in stain-resistant coatings and as surfactants in fire-fighting foams, floor polishes, and insecticides. What these fluorine compounds don't do is fully degrade.

In the environment, many break down only to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a remarkably persistent pollutant that has started showing up in the blood of people and animals. Fetal exposures to this proliferating pollutant can harm newborn mice and rats, a new study shows.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.