PFAS in Building Products Ubiquitous, Says Report
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are persistent, bioaccumulative, and linked to a number of negative health and environmental impacts. Some forms are toxic and possible carcinogens. These “forever” chemicals are now found on every continent and in the most remote places on the world. They are also common in the products we use. A new report from the Green Science Policy Institute (GSPI), Building a Better World: Reducing Unnecessary PFAS in Building Materials, documents where these chemicals are used in our buildings and for what purpose.
PFAS compounds resist water, oils, dirt, and stains, and are often used as carpet and textile treatments. Carpet manufacturers in particular have embraced the use of PFAS, and their widespread use has led to the contamination of waterways and water supplies in Georgia and elsewhere, along with multimillion-dollar lawsuits against manufacturers. These carpet compounds have been banned in new commercial construction in San Francisco, and Home Depot and Lowes no longer sell carpets with PFAS.
BuildingGreen has been following the use of PFAS in building products for years, and we are familiar with their use in textiles, exterior coatings, sealants, and many other products. (Disclosure: the author was a reviewer for the GSPI report.) But PFAS use in other building products is not as well documented. The GSPI report outlines sectors where PFAS could be sneaking into products such as caulks, glazing, and adhesives.
PFAS are sometimes used in unexpected places, so tracking their use and obtaining granular details on which specific products are using them is a challenge. GSPI has helped bring these categories to the forefront so designers can begin to make better material choices.
More on PFAS
For more information:
Green Science Policy Institute
Ehrlich, B. (2021, May 18). PFAS in Building Products Ubiquitous, Says Report. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/pfas-building-products-ubiquitous-says-report