PFAS chemicals

PFAS, popularly known as 'forever chemicals', is the generic name for a family of synthetic chemicals widely used around the world to make product that resist heat, stains, grease, and water. Some of these substances have been found to be toxic and have been linked to various health issues.

PFAS: Forever chemicals

Per- & Poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) are part of a family of synthetic chemicals in the form of long chain compounds, such as Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfanate (PFOS). Popularly known as ‘forever chemicals’, PFAS are chemically resistant to change, which makes them very difficult to break down. These substances have been used since the 1940s in a variety of consumer products and facilities. Currently, there exists over 4,700 of these fluorine-based compounds in our midst. The compounds are environmentally persistent, mobile and toxic, and are known to impact drinking water.

PFAS, PFAS everywhere

Ubiquitous in nature with excellent surface-active surfaces, PFAS is present in numerous industrial applications. Some of the industries where PFAS has been identified and found to be prevalent include:

  • Chemical manufacturers
  • Airports
  • Paper and packaging
  • Defence establishments
  • Textiles and fabrics
  • Tyre manufacturers
  • Electronics
  • Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)

Health impact

If unchecked and uncontrolled, some of these substances have been linked to health issues including liver damage, kidney cancer, and birth defects. Some of these 'forever chemicals' can accumulate and stay in the human body for long periods of time. Due to its inability to break down naturally, PFAS-containing waste materials can remain in the environment for a long time, causing adverse effects.

PFAS regulations

Regulations around PFAS (and related chemicals such as PFOAs) remain generally haphazard around the world. In recent years, the EU, US, and Australia began strategic steps to assess the risks of PFAS to human health and the environment. In April 2021, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the EPA Council on PFAS with a goal to strategic protection of public health and environment from the negative effect of PFAS. In March 2021, a chemical regulation system, UK REACH, was created by the UK government to look at the risks posed by chemicals, including PFAS. Currently, however, PFAS continues to be unregulated in the UK.

SUEZ PFAS services and offerings

SUEZ offers a detailed analysis for businesses in tackling the problem presented by PFAS that helps contribute to improved public health. SUEZ provides bespoke services starting from specialist sampling and analysis services to working with our clients to devise suitable strategies for control, remediation and continued monitoring.

Available methods for PFAS

Two multi-laboratory validated quantitative methods are available:


  • USEPA Method 537.1, which tests for 18 PFAS substances
  • USEPA Method 533, which tests for 25 PFAS substances
  • Draft USEPA Method 1633, which tests for 40 PFAS substances
Alongside the analysis, SUEZ also provides specialist sampling services to ensure accuracy of results and confidence that no external factors can contaminate or influence results.

Contact us

Let us help you handle these forever chemicals responsibly. Learn more about how SUEZ can help your business tackle the hazards of PFAS.