“People started looking over the last 10 years for adverse effects” from exposure to PFOA and related compounds, says Philippe Grandjean, an environmental health scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health who studied immunotoxicity in children and found a link between exposure to perfluorinated compounds and weakened response to vaccines. “We were thinking in the beginning that a carbon chain wrapped in fluoride ions seems like it won’t do anything. It’s certainly very stable, but the question is, will it interact with biological molecules and cause any adverse effects?”It's not completely fair to criticize Dr. Grandjean for not quite getting the terminology right for perfluorinated alkyl compounds*, but it sure does grate on my ears.
*"a carbon chain bonded to fluorines" would have been perfectly fine, for example.