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. 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.

Fidra supports the Climate Strike

Imogen and Anna are both in primary school, in North Berwick, and like many young people they are not just concerned about climate change, they are doing something about it. They are willing to sell their top 100 jokes and play the bagpipes to help raise money for climate causes; all in their spare time alongside their school studies.

One of our favourite jokes? Why are babies very important? Because they sit in a high-chair!

Our turn, why did Fidra staff members go to the Edinburgh climate march? Science and Action!
OK, so we have a little bit more work to do until our jokes are as good as Anna and Imogen’s, but all jokes aside, this is exactly why Fidra felt it was important to support the Climate Strike and attend the march in Edinburgh on 20th September. Science and action. We know the science behind climate change, now we must see more action.

Our young people get it. Earlier this year, international icon, Greta Thunberg, asked the National Assembly to “unite behind the science”. Our local legends, Anna and Imogen, highlight “just some of the facts” in their handmade book.
We know the science and facts on paper, and we are also seeing them play out as species decline in number; homes to humans, plants and animals become inhospitable through extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, forest fires and storms; and our arctic ice cap shrinks.
From businesses, governmental bodies, individuals, researchers, the media, NGOs… the list goes on, we need to see more action. It is not solely up to young people to solve this. Neither is it down to the politicians or businesses alone. To quote from Anna and Imogen’s book, “we are all in this together…we must all do our bit to help.”

It has been estimated that on 20th September, around 4 million people supported the Climate Strike in over 150 countries around the world [1]. What would happen if every one of these 4 million people changed their buying habits, limiting their consumer impact in size and choosing more sustainable products? Voted for climate concerned politicians? Used their free time to combat climate change through small actions like joining a tree planting party, sowing wildflower seeds, or changing their banks and energy suppliers to considerate companies? What if every one of these 4 million people managed to persuade just one friend to join them in these actions. What about two friends.
Regardless of age, nationality, political persuasion, or employment or education status, we must strive to understand why and how climate change will impact our environment and society. With this understanding, all organisations and individuals will be able to make fully informed choices and act purposefully and effectively to alleviate the pressures that climate change will put on our communities and systems, globally.

At Fidra, we believe that the Climate Strike encapsulates another necessary strand of our work – supporting the positive action taking place in our communities, based on the scientific evidence that we know as fact. Through our projects working with businesses, organisations and individuals, we recognise that there is not always the sense of urgency around these issues that we feel is appropriate.
Fidra’s projects help to address climate change in a number of ways, but primarily through reducing plastic and chemical pollution and waste. Did you know that the chemical industry has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world?
By working with our governments, regulators and businesses to implement effective and pragmatic solutions we believe we can all be part of lowering carbon emissions and creating more sustainable societies and healthier ecosystems.

Finally, and importantly, Fidra are not only working externally to reduce climate and environmental impacts. Fidra understands that we must lead by example as a low carbon employer. To do this, Fidra records the carbon emissions of all travel associated to the business, with the vision to set a carbon budget for each project. Our head office is based in North Berwick and is close to train and bus links, has no private car park but does have a good shower and bike shed facilities to support staff and visitors to travel to work by low carbon means.
We recognise that there will always be more that we can all do as individuals, organisations and as members of our communities, but starting to do something is the best thing that we can all do; and to close with one more quote from Greta Thunberg “You are never too small to make a difference”.

To find out more about our work, please visit our website



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