Spotlight Report

Keeping PFAS Forever Chemicals out of Building Products

PFAS “forever chemicals” are persistent in the environment and have a number of potential negative health and environmental impacts. Yet they pervade our lives—and are even infiltrating remote ecosystems once considered pristine.

PFAS are everywhere, from microwave popcorn packaging to industrial metal coatings, so they have spread around the globe and are likely found in all of us. They also show up in products found throughout our buildings. They are added intentionally to upholstery and other textiles, carpet, coatings, and sealants, and they have been found as a contaminant from the supply chain of other materials.

Because they are so ubiquitous indoors, their presence raises concerns about their impacts on occupant health. And the manufacturing of PFAS also raises concerns about greater impacts on people who work in PFAS production, on fenceline communities and ecosystems near industrial facilities, and on construction jobsites. What can we do?

In this spotlight report, we take a close look at which chemicals qualify as PFAS, why they are a problem, and how we can make better PFAS-free product selections. The report also discusses performance tradeoffs, unknowns, and applications where PFAS are difficult to avoid.

This is your chance to learn:

  • The history and pervasiveness of PFAS and the many ways they can negatively impact human and ecosystem health. 

  • The primary sources of PFAS contamination in the environment, including which building products contain them. 

  • Why PFAS are used and how they can compel difficult choices regarding product durability, environmental sustainability, and human welfare. 

  • How government regulation, product certifications, and firms’ material selection processes are seeking to reduce the negative environmental and human health impacts of PFAS.

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