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.

In Memory
© Lewis Houghton

Jasper Hamlet takes plastic pollution to No. 10

In Memory of Jasper Hamlet

 

Jasper Hamlet was an exceptional and talented young man, working across Fidra’s The Great Nurdle Hunt, the Cotton Bud Project, Pitch-In and Best Fishes, and his passing is a huge loss for us as individuals, as colleagues and friends, as well as organisationally.

His love of the outdoors and wildlife, his commitment to the environment, his wonderful connection with nature through his wood carving and beautiful spoon making, and his living of these values touched many people, not just here at Fidra, but from the wider NGO community and from diverse contacts across Scotland, the UK and globally.  Jasper was loved and respected at work, and he had a far reaching impact on the environment in his career. We are proud to have known him, worked alongside him and are honoured to continue this work.

On behalf of the staff and trustees at Fidra, our thoughts are with his partner, his family and all his friends always.