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PFHxS is a chemical used as a surfactant in a variety of industrial and commercial products such as food packaging, stain and water-resistant materials, fire-fighting foams and paint additives. The likely environmental sources are from introduction via commercial production or during use (such as with fire-fighting foams). PFHxS is not frequently detected in any matrix (1, 2, and 5% of samples in fish tissue, water and sediment, respectively; in one study). It is typically detected near a production or use site.

Environmental implications of PFHxS

  • Not toxic to aquatic organisms. The concentrations detected in surface waters in Minnesota are far below levels where effects have been observed.
  • Does not bioaccumulate, so secondary poisoning to wildlife eating aquatic organisms is unlikely.
  • Has the potential to accumulate persist in sediment. It has been detected in sediment in Minnesota, but there are no toxicity studies that evaluate the risk to sediment-dwelling aquatic life at the levels observed.
  • Moderately volatile and is persistent in air, so long-range atmospheric transport of this contaminant is a concern.

Toxic mode of action

The mode of action of toxicity due to PFHxS exposure in aquatic life is unknown.

Relevant media for monitoring


Are there seasonal considerations for monitoring?

No. PFHxS is a widely used chemical and is persistent, so it is likely to be found in water and tissue year-round.

Important degradates

Degradates have not been identified. PFHxS is very persistent and may have limited degradation.


Because this contaminant is persistent, continued monitoring of PFHxS is recommended.

CAS RN: 375-85-9

Alternate name(s): PFHxS,perfluorohexanesulfonate

Primary use(s): Industrial chemical

Priority: Medium