Nonstick cookware that is 100 percent perfluorooctanoic acid-free means the cookware does not contain the synthetic chemical. Sometimes called C8, perfluorooctanoic acid causes adverse effects and developmental problems in laboratory animals. The man-made chemical also remains in the environment and the human body for a long time.
Perfluorooctanoic acid is used in thousands of industrial and manufacturing applications. The chemical is also produced when substances called fluorinated telomers breakdown. Fluorinated telomers are used in surface treatment products such as those applied to nonstick cookware.
The Environmental Protection Agency released a risk assessment for perfluorooctanoic acid in April 2003, and began a process to generate more information about the chemical after receiving information about its potential biological and environmental toxicity. The chemical is still legal in the United States, though in 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted a 41 percent decrease in the amount of perfluorooctanoic acid in human blood between the years 1999 and 2010.