Non-polymer PFAS can build up in blood protein of animals, and is not always removed quickly. This means that predators eating PFAS-contaminated food will have higher levels in their bloodstream, and concentrations can increase up the food chain. Studies suggest that build up of PFAS is similar to those of other Persistent Organic Pollutants such as DDT.PFAS are estimated to be settling in arctic regions at rates of tens to hundreds of kilograms per year (25-850kg per year), depending on the specific PFAS chemical in question. Certain PFAS are released as gases to the environment and are blown a long way by wind and air currents in the atmosphere,. These gas PFAS will over time degrade to more persistent chemicals like PFOS and PFOA. This may be one reason why PFAS of environmental concern have been found in remote regions such as the Arctic as well as near PFAS production sitesPFAS including PFOS and PFOA have been found in air samples around Europe. The chemicals are found in small quantities, but appear in almost all samples tested. PFAS enters the atmosphere both from factories and the air inside our homes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17554424 PFAS is found in treated waste water from industrial and domestic sources and has been found in both rivers and groundwater. Conventional drinking water processes will not remove PFAS.PFAS-coated clothes that are thrown away will often end up either incinerated or in landfill. Unless incinerated at very high temperatures (>1000oC), fluorinated polymers could release more harmful PFAS during burning. PFAS of environmental concern have also been found in landfill leachate. Non-polymer PFAS are used in the production of fluorinated polymers. The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes generally releases these PFASs into the environment, both by air and water emissions. They are very hard to remove during water treatment. Workers in textiles factories are some of the population most exposed to these potentially harmful chemicals. Small quantities of PFAS will be removed during wash and wear of products containing PFAS. This includes fluorinated polymers used on stain-resistant coatings, and non-polymers that remain on clothes after production (Lassen et al. 2015).Most UK waste still ends up in landfill, and this includes PFAS-containing products. Studies have shown that the liquid coming from landfills (known as leachate) often contain non-polymer PFAS chemicals. In the USA the total quantities were estimated at 563-638 kg in 2013. To properly break down PFAS chemicals high temperature (1000oC or more) incineration is recommended. Incineration of municipal waste does not necessarily reach these temperatures (min temp. required is 850oC), and the incomplete breakdown could release non-polymer PFAS.Wash and wear of clothing that contains PFAS-based stain-resistant or water repellent finishes release PFAS to the environment. Coatings are thought to lose effectiveness after 20-30 washes. This can include non-polymer PFAS, remnant from production or as a break-down product of side-chain polymers (Lassen et al. 2015). The manufacture of stain-resistant finishes releases PFAS into the environment, both by air and water emissions. PFAS are very hard to remove during water treatment. Industrial emissions are estimated to be the biggest source of these chemicals to the environment.

Posts Tagged ‘PFAS’

 

PFAS: passing from your coffee cup and cutlery to compost and crops

Thursday, November 30th, 2023

Compostable food packaging is becoming a increasingly popular alternative to single use plastic, but PFAS in compostable packaging can enter into the environment

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Soil Association’s new standard bans all PFAS in food packaging

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

The Soil Association has opened a consultation on new proposed changes to their packaging standard, including new restrictions to PFAS in packaging for organic food products.

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Non-Stick Cookware: A Sticky Situation?

Wednesday, May 10th, 2023

Is non-stick cookware safe and what are the alternatives? Non-stick cookware is a source of PFAS exposure for many and linked to multiple health risks.

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UK recommendations to combat PFAS pollution are finally published but are just the first step

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

The long awaited PFAS Risk Management Options Analysis (RMOA) was finally published earlier this month by the UK’s Health and Safety Executive, working in partnership with the Environment Agency.

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The Problem with PFAS in Pesticides

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023

Pesticides, already products of concern for the environment, can also contain PFAS, also products of great concern. With the known environmental impacts of PFAS, alongside their alarming persistence, should this be allowed to continue?

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A Frustrating and Unacceptable Delay

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

With the news that representatives from Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Norway have submitted their collaborative PFAS restriction proposal to ECHA, the European Chemical Agency, we take a brief look at steps taken by other countries to address the global PFAS problem whilst we wait for the UK Government to take action themselves.

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Testing your blood and drinking water for PFAS – is it worth it?

Friday, November 25th, 2022

We often have enquiries from people who have either had their blood and water tested for PFAS, or are interested in getting a test, so we thought it might be helpful if we addressed this topic in a blog, making the information accessible to people who may need it.

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Reusable containers, PFAS, and life after the Single Use Plastics Ban

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

On the 1st of June 2022, Scotland became the first UK nation to ban a group of single-use plastics. How did it happen, and what comes next?

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PFAS Contamination of the UK Environment – where are the gaps, and what can be done?

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

A 2021 Environment Agency (EA) report1 highlights multiple gaps in the UK’s environmental monitoring for the group of chemicals known as poly- and per-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Should we be concerned?

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ECHA lists another PFAS as harmful to the environment

Friday, July 5th, 2019

Good news for the environment as more PFAS are identified as a ‘substances of very high concern’. But is it enough?

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