PFOS is a fully fluorinated anion, widely used as the surface treatment of textiles, leather products, paper, furniture and carpets for its waterproofing and oil-resistance. It’s also used as intermediates for the production of paints, foam extinguishing agents, floor polish, pesticides and termite control agents for its chemical stability. PFOS and its closely related compounds, which contain PFOS impurities or substances to the formation of PFOS, all belong to perfluoroalkyl sulfonate substances.

In December 2002, PFOS was classified as persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic (PBT) in the 34th OECD Chemical Committee meeting. Consequently the European Parliament has placed a restriction on marketing and use of PFOS and its salts(now included in EU REACH Annex XVII - Restriction List in 2009).

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and its salts are suspected to have a similar risk profile to PFOS. It is in consultation stage on whether PFOA shall be included in the Restriction List.

Limits Outlined by EU REACH(Directive 1907/2006/EC)

  • PFOS shall not be used as a substance or constituent of preparations in products with a concentration equal to or higher than 0.005 % by mass. Otherwise, products will be restricted to be placed on the market;
  • Semi-finished products or articles, or parts shall not be placed on the EU market if the concentration of PFOS is equal to or higher than 0.1 % (1000ppm) by mass;and
  • For textiles or other coated materials, the concentration shall not be higher than 1 μg/m2.


Fully perfluorinated substances with long carbon chains, including PFOS, are lipid-waterproofing; therefore, PFOS-related substances are used as surface-active agents. Their extreme persistence makes them suitable for high temperature and strong acids or bases contact. PFOS has been widely applied in civil and industrial production, mainly in the following products and industries:

  • carpet;                     
  • leather products;
  • clothes;
  • textiles;
  • paper and packaging materials;
  • paints and paint additives;
  • industrial and household cleaning agents;
  • pesticides and insecticides;
  • foam fire extinguishers;
  • photography;
  • photolithograph;
  • semiconductor;
  • hydraulic fluids;
  • metal plating.


If you are an importer or manufacturer of above products, you need to ensure your products do not contain PFOS, PFOA or its salts above the levels set by REACH. Other hazardous substances that might be restricted in above products include SVHC, PAHs, Phthalates, PoHS and other REACH restricted substances.

CIRS offers restricted substances testing services in one package to you or your suppliers and make sure your products comply with the latest safety requirement of EU legislation. CIRS will provide expert advice on what tests need to be carried out in your products and inform you of the latest developments of PFOS/PFOA as a complementary service.

About Us

Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service(CIRS) is a leading provider of toxic and hazardous substances testing and chemical regulatory consulting services with a strong focus on chemical compliance.

CIRS's testing lab located in mainland China has acquired the qualifications of China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) and CMA and follows the ISO/IEC 17025.


Chemical Inspection and Regulation Service Ltd

Unit 1 Ardee Business Park, Hale Street, Ardee, Co. Louth, Ireland
Tel: +353 41 9806 916 | Fax: +353 41 9806 999 |