News Brief

Thousands of PFAS Compounds Added to ILFI Red List

The International Living Future Institute has added thousands of PFAS compounds to its Living Building Challenge Red List.

The International Living Futures Institute recently added 4,844 perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) to its Red List and 5,947 to its Priority List. PFAS are a group of chemical compounds that do not break down in the environment and can cause potentially serious health and environmental problems. Beyond the ubiquitous use of PFAS compounds in consumer goods like cookware and weather-proof clothing, they are also found in many building products, including sealants, exterior metal coatings, the soil and stain treatments used on textiles and carpets, and more. The new additions add to the Red List’s original ban on “perfluorinated compounds” (PFCs).

According to Ren DeCherney, ILFI’s director of materials at the organization's Impact Group, “The Red List sets an industry standard with respect to worst-in-class materials, chemicals, and elements that pose serious risks to human and ecosystem health. The goal is to promote market transformation toward healthy materials.” In the case of PFAS compounds, there are a still lot of unknowns, so tracing them in building products can be difficult. DeCherney said, “When it comes to screening out PFAS—forever chemicals with well documented negative health impacts—the goal is clear, even as we make case-by-case assessments of specific situations.”

According to ILFI, exceptions will be made for PFAS compounds based on whether:

  • the product is currently unable to meet performance requirements or perform its essential function without PFAS chemicals,
  • there are no other Red List chemicals present, and
  • the product has a published transparency label or publicly available ingredient list at 100 ppm (0.01%).

DeCherney explained, “Because of the pervasiveness of PFAS chemicals, the International Living Future Institute is issuing a temporary exception in the Living Building Challenge for certain applications of PFAS in building products, such as some PVFD exterior coatings. The goal of the exception is to further our understanding of where PFAS chemicals are used and where these chemicals are currently unavoidable.”

Published June 6, 2022

Ehrlich, B. (2022, May 20). Thousands of PFAS Compounds Added to ILFI Red List. Retrieved from

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a BuildingGreen Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.