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SAICM Perflourinated Chemicals Video

Perflourinated Chemicals (PFCs) are the key ingredient in many stain, water and grease repellent coatings that make outdoor jackets water tight and frying pans non sticky. These chemicals consist of long molecules that contain carbon chains surrounded by fluorine. That bond between carbon and fluorine is incredibly tight. They interact so strongly with each other that the normal, inter-molecular forces, that cause substances to stick to each other, don’t stand a chance.

While some types of PFCs are either safe or well-controlled, others freely enter our environment. And because PFCs are highly persistent, they can travel over great distances through water, air and soil.  This means that they enter the environment, PFCs do not disintegrate quickly and are therefore here to stay. We’ve started using PFCs in the1950s and by now you can find them in remote areas around the world, like the arctic and in glacial lakes, and even in our food. These chemicals appear to have toxic effects on living organisms and once they enter a human body, they may stay up to 1000 days in the bloodstream from where they can harm a developing foetus or even cause cancer.

There is still a lot we need to understand about PFCs. SAICM offers governments, industry, the science community, and NGOs a platform to share and expand their knowledge, learn about environmentally sound alternatives, and together they strive for adequate legislation and technological innovation.