...They are now in nearly all of our bodies, are found in the air and water around the globe, and they never go away. They are "Forever Chemicals."
These are stain-repellent chemicals that we use in products throughout our homes, offices, schools, hospitals, cars and airplanes. They are characterized by a fluorine-carbon backbone. And the F-C bond, the Forever-Chemical bond, is quite amazing, representing one of the strongest bonds in all of organic chemistry.
When several F-C bonds are strung together, some really useful industry properties appear, including allowing air to pass through while blocking things such as grease, oil and dirt.
...But this property comes with a pernicious dark side. The F-C bond is so strong that these chemicals never fully degrade. Ever. Like, for millennia ever.
And it may get worse. In every chemical with a carbon-hydrogen bond (the fundamental unit of organic chemistry), you can theoretically replace the "H" with an "F," creating a Forever Chemical. Thus, the number of Forever Chemicals that can be made is close to infinite. Scientists could study these indefinitely and not make any progress. It's job security that I don't want....A more irritating mauling of chemistry and chemicals you will not read today. (The fundamental unit of organic chemistry is the C-H bond? whiskey tango over?)*
*I think the thing that gets me about articles like this is how much chemophobic articles like this belittle the good that chemistry and chemicals do and how much they use uncertainty and doubt to get people to fear the chemical-to-be-feared of the moment.
(Should we as an industry be more careful with the compounds that we manufacture and sell as articles of commerce? Absolutely. Is the PFOA/PFOS story one that we as an industry need to come to terms with? Undoubtedly. Does this article help with that? No.)