PFOS and PFOA containing substances were initially commercialised as non-stick and protective coatings, before being incorporated into stain and water resistant substances in the 1950s, fire-fighting foams in the 1960s, and waterproof fabrics in the 1970s.
By volume, most PFOS and PFOA has been used in textile, carpet, upholstery and leather industries where it was applied as a stain or water resistant coating. Manufacturing of carpets using PFOS-containing surface treatments commenced in the mid-1980s until PFOS was officially banned in NZ in 2011 – though replacement products may contain PFOS or PFOA precursors.
Firefighting foams manufactured with PFOS and PFOA were the standard until the early 2000s in international aviation because these foams put out liquid fuel fires quickly, thus improving safety for passengers, air crew and fire fighters.
Since 2011, no import, manufacture or use of PFOS compounds is permitted in New Zealand, other than for specified, identified uses, such as laboratory analysis. Use of PFOA is restricted.
A summary of non-foam sources of PFAS in New Zealand