Vol. 8 No. 1 (2024)
Research Articles

The Discovery and Analysis of PFAS (‘Forever Chemicals’) in Human Blood and Biological Materials

Anthony S. Travis
Sidney M. Edelstein Center for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine, Safra Campus, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Published 2024-03-04


  • Forever chemicals,
  • Organic fluorine in biological materials,
  • PFAS,
  • PFOA,
  • PFOS,
  • exposure to PFAS
  • ...More

How to Cite

Travis, A. S. (2024). The Discovery and Analysis of PFAS (‘Forever Chemicals’) in Human Blood and Biological Materials. Substantia, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.36253/Substantia-2377


This paper reviews the development of analytical techniques used prior to the early 1980s in the identification of organofluorine compounds in human blood. The compounds of interest are industrial products, the so-called Forever Chemicals, which are stable long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are highly resistant to breakdown. Because of their special properties they have been used since the 1950s in a wide range of commercial and domestic products. Academic research in the 1960s and 1970s that originally focused on fluoride in dentistry and human health led to the finding that PFAS were present in the blood of residents of several cities in the United States. This, and concerns over their toxic properties, encouraged industrial research into analytical methods for their detection. Notably, and because long-chain PFAS are nonvolatile, special techniques were developed for analysis by gas chromatography.


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