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. 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.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).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 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.

Our Guidelines for Cleaner Pitches

We have collated best practice guidelines to help keep microplastic in mind at every stage of choosing, designing, maintaining and using a pitch. These documents include suggestions from alternatives to plastic, to simple barriers that can be used to stop microplastic escaping into the environment.

How does the guide work?

Everyone involved with artificial pitches can play an important role in making your pitch more environmentally friendly. We’ve split the guidelines into 3 parts to separate recommendations for Designers, Owners and Maintenance Teams, and Pitch Users:

Guidelines for Designers and Procurement Specialists

From choosing the right type of pitch to installing filters in drains, there are lots of actions that can be taken right at the start of the pitch build to stop microplastic loss. These guidelines set out recommendations for what you can do if you’re just about to purchase, design or refurbish a pitch.

Guidelines for Owners and Maintenance Teams

These simple recommendations for pitch owners, managers and maintenance teams will help to make sure any infill you use stays on the pitch. It includes information on alternatives to microplastic, physical barriers, making changes to maintenance routines, and working together with pitch users to prevent loss.

Guidelines for Pitch Users

 

This guidance sets out what players can do to reduce microplastic loss, from brushing off their boots to checking their kit before doing the laundry. They’re also helpful for pitch owners to understand how to help their community tackle microplastic pollution.

These guidelines have been collated by Fidra and KIMO International, using expert advice from industry and feedback from sites in Sweden, Norway and Denmark where trials are already underway.

We are constantly striving to improve these documents, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further suggestions or insights into reducing microplastic loss from pitches.