Chuck Chaitovitz Chuck Chaitovitz
Vice President, Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


March 11, 2024


In recent years, you may have heard concerns about PFAS—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Understandably, communities and the federal government have been engaged in discussions about how to effectively and appropriately clean up specific legacy PFAS in the environment, substances that are no longer in commerce.

But what exactly is PFAS, and what are they and other fluorochemistries used for today? The Chamber is launching our Essential Chemistry for America initiative to highlight the critical uses of fluorochemistries and to combat growing threats to their availability that could result in unintended consequences, costs, and impacts on communities and companies alike.

What Is PFAS? 

The term PFAS includes thousands of chemistries that can and do have very different properties, so they are not all the same. Today’s fluorochemistries, including PFAS, possess a unique combination of properties to repel water and retain heat that makes them durable, efficient, versatile, reliable, and ultimately irreplaceable across critical sectors. 

How they’re used: Fluorochemistries are essential to producing things we rely on every day, from airplanes to vehicles to semiconductors and data centers, clean energy technologies, health care equipment, personal protective equipment, and items critical to our national defense. And there are virtually no other viable alternatives.

The Current Debate 

Members of Congress, the Administration, and states are considering regulatory action that could threaten the existence of all fluorochemistries and, therefore, cause severe disruption to our economy and the products we depend on.

The greatest concern relates to contamination caused by PFOA and PFOS, legacy chemistries that have not been in commerce for nearly two decades. In recent years, the federal government has provided billions in funding to support cleanup of such emerging contaminants.

But while those efforts are underway, it is important to understand that not all fluorochemistries, and not all PFAS, warrant the same regulatory attention.

Engaging the Value Chain, Educating Lawmakers 

The Chamber is leading an effort to educate public policymakers and business leaders about the essential role of fluorochemistries in our economy. Our membership includes companies, trade associations, and stakeholders from across the economy, which depend on access to essential chemistries. We are, therefore, advocating for policy and regulatory approaches based on the best science and risk management.   

The Bottom Line

Fluorochemistries are essential to American innovation and to supporting a robust manufacturing base with high-paying jobs. They are vital for protecting our national security, promoting the energy transition, developing industrial decarbonization solutions, improving public health and safety, and safeguarding resilient domestic supply chains. Today’s essential chemistries are manufactured and used responsibly and help make our modern way of life possible. The Chamber is committed to making sure they remain available to meet Americans' everyday needs.

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About the authors

Chuck Chaitovitz

Chuck Chaitovitz

Chuck Chaitovitz is vice president for environmental affairs and sustainability at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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