Scotchgard is a 3M brand of products, a stain and durable water repellent applied to fabric, furniture, and carpets to protect them from stains.


The original formula for Scotchgard was discovered accidentally in 1952 by 3M chemists Patsy Sherman and Samuel Smith. Sales began in 1956, and in 1973 the two chemists received a patent for the formula.[1][2]

During 1999, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began an investigation into the class of chemicals used in Scotchgard, after receiving information on the global distribution and toxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS),[3] the "key ingredient"[4] of Scotchgard. The compound perfluorooctanesulfonamide (PFOSA), a PFOS precursor, was an ingredient[5] and also has been described as the "key ingredient"[6] of Scotchgard. Under US EPA pressure,[7] in May 2000 3M announced the phaseout of the production of PFOA, PFOS, and PFOS-related products.[8]

3M reformulated Scotchgard and since June 2003 has replaced PFOS with perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS).[9] PFBS has a much shorter half-life in people than PFOS (a little over one month vs. 5.4 years).[4] In May 2009, PFOS was determined to be a persistent organic pollutant (POP) by the Stockholm Convention.[10] In 2018, 3M agreed to pay the state of Minnesota $850 million to settle a $5 billion lawsuit over drinking water contaminated by PFOA and other fluorosurfactants.[11][12][13]

See also


  1. U.S. Patent 3,574,791
  2. "The Invention of Scotchgard". Retrieved 2006-08-21.
  3. Aziz Ullah. "The Fluorochemical Dilemma: What the PFOS/PFOA fuss is all about" Cleaning & Restoration., (October, 2006). Accessed October 25, 2008.
  4. Kellyn S. Betts "Perfluoroalkyl Acids: What Is the Evidence Telling Us?" Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 115, Number 5, May 2007. Accessed October 25, 2008.
  5. Boulanger B; Vargo JD; Schnoor JL; Hornbuckle KC (August 2005). "Evaluation of perfluorooctane surfactants in a wastewater treatment system and in a commercial surface protection product". Environ. Sci. Technol. 39 (15): 5524–30. doi:10.1021/es050213u. PMID 16124283. Supporting Information (PDF).
  6. Stephen K. Ritter (January 2006). "Crystal Ball On The Environment: Detective work and expertise are used to evaluate environmental contaminants of emerging concern". Chemical & Engineering News. 84 (5): 37–40. doi:10.1021/cen-v084n049.p037.
  7. Lee, Jennifer 8. (15 April 2003). "E.P.A. Orders Companies to Examine Effects of Chemicals". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2009.
  8. 3M: "PFOS-PFOA Information: What is 3M Doing?" Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine Accessed October 25, 2008.
  9. Renner R (January 2006). "The long and the short of perfluorinated replacements". Environ. Sci. Technol. 40 (1): 12–3. doi:10.1021/es062612a. PMID 16433328.
  10. "Governments unite to step-up reduction on global DDT reliance and add nine new chemicals under international treaty". Geneva: Stockholm Convention Secretariat. 8 May 2008.
  11. Reisch, Marc S. "3M to pay $850 million to settle fluorosurfactants lawsuit | February 26, 2018 Issue - Vol. 96 Issue 9 | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  12. "3M must learn from its $850 million mistake". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  13. "Cancer-linked Chemicals Manufactured by 3M Are Turning Up in Drinking Water". Retrieved 2019-01-31.
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