Skip to Content

Sources of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

Source of the table: Hazardous substances of specific concern to the Baltic Sea Final report of the HAZARDOUS project (2009) (BSEP No. 119), pages 44-56.

Substance Sources of discharges to aquatic environmentSources of emissions to atmosphere  


Sewage treatment plants (STPs)

Industrial waste water from

- metal plating factories

- semiconductor industry 1

- photographic industry

- manufacture and use of fire fighting foams 1

- paper and packaging protection industry 1

semiconductor industry 1



Use of PFOA related substances which degrade to PFOA (e.g. fluorotelomer alcohols, FTOH)


Sewage treatment plants (STPs)

Fluoropolymer production (e.g. polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE)

Use of PFOA related substances which

degrade to PFOA (e.g. fluorotelomer alcohols, FTOH)

Fluoropolymer production (e.g. polytetrafluoroethylene, PTFE)

The industrial sector or professional use has been identified as a relevant source if the emission factor is relatively high or if it has been identified as risk use in national or EU risk assessments. The significance of other activities (e.g. STPs and landfills) has been evaluated on the basis of measured effluent concentrations. It should be noted that all below mentioned sectors may not be relevant in all HELCOM countries and these should be identified at national level (e.g. within national programs under the HELCOM Baltic Sea Action Plan).

1 Use banned (as a substance or constituent of preparations at concentration ≥0.005% by mass and in semifinished products or articles ≥0.1% by mass) in EU since 27th June 2008 (2006/122/EC). Existing storage of firefighting foams containing PFOS are allowed to use until 27th June 2011. Concerning the semiconductor industry, the ban is only on developers and edge bead removers, not on photoresists and antireflective coatings, which are having high emission factors to waste water and air

Back to top