Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Learn about PFAS, their health risks and how to reduce your exposure.

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About PFAS

PFAS are a broad group of over 4,700 human-made substances that are used in a wide range of products, such as:

PFAS are also in foams used by firefighters to extinguish fuel fires. They are distinct from flame retardants, which work to prevent items from catching on fire.  

PFAS do not break down easily and remain in the environment for long periods of time. People are exposed to PFAS from many different sources, including products available to consumers, food, drinking water, outdoor and indoor air, and house dust.

Safety of PFAS

Due to their widespread use and persistence in the environment, humans are continuously exposed to multiple PFAS. PFAS may affect:

What we’re doing to reduce your exposure to PFAS

Under Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan, we review and manage the potential risks that chemical substances can pose to people in Canada and the environment.

We have published a draft State of PFAS Report summarizing information available to date on PFAS. We have also published a risk management scope that outlines the controls we are considering implementing to limit environmental releases of PFAS. These controls include:

We are consulting the public on a draft objective for PFAS in drinking water, which recommends a maximum level for total PFAS in drinking water.

We have prohibited the manufacture, use, sale, offer for sale or import of the following substances, with some exemptions:

We are also proposing to remove or put a time limit on existing exemptions for these substances.

We have developed and published guidelines to protect Canadians from exposure to PFAS through drinking water, soil and groundwater. These guidelines include:

We continue to:

We continue to reduce risks from known federal contaminated sites through the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

We continue to work with international partners to lower the amount of PFAS that enters the environment. For example, Canada nominated LC-PFCAs for consideration under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2021. The Convention is a global treaty that requires countries to control and reduce listed POPs across a range of industries and products. PFOS and PFOA were previously listed to the Convention.

As well, Canada is a member country of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. We participate in the Global Perfluorinated Chemicals Group, which works to reduce emissions of certain perfluorinated chemicals internationally.

What you can do to reduce your exposure to PFAS

You can take steps to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.

Read the label:

Follow local advisories:

Provide any comments on our State of PFAS Report and risk management scope during the 60-day public comment period.

If you’re exposed to PFAS at work, talk to your employer and occupational health and safety (OHS) official about:

Related links

For more information on PFAS

For industry and professionals

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