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.

Who We Are
© Lewis Houghton

Meet the team

The day to day running of Fidra’s projects is carried out by the small team based in North Berwick.  You can find out more about each member of the team below.

Dr Becky Gait
Director

 

Prior to creating Fidra, Becky qualified as a GP and then worked in Public Health Medicine at NHS Lothian, NHS Fife and Scottish Government, where she developed a specialist interest in Environmental Public Health.

Catherine Amis
Operations Manager

 

Catherine originally comes from a protective textiles background. She provides administrative, organisational, financial and operational support to the charity, ensuring the Fidra office is running smoothly.

Dr Clare Cavers
Senior Projects Manager

 

Clare joined Fidra from a research background, with qualifications in biological sciences, marine environmental protection and biogeography.

Dr Maddy Berg
Project Manager

 

Maddy comes from a geosciences research background, with a particular interest in public engagement and science communication. She has worked on a wide range of projects at Fidra, with a current focus on microplastic pollution.

Dr Kerry Dinsmore
Project Manager

 

Prior to joining Fidra Kerry worked as a biogeochemist specialising in greenhouse gas and nutrient cycling in natural environments. She is now developing Fidra’s interests in existing and emerging chemical pollutants.

Heather McFarlane
Project Manager

 

With a background in chemistry Heather has worked for science and environmental NGOs around the world. As well as working on chemical pollutants at Fidra she is also our communications lead.

Jasper Hamlet
Senior Project Officer

 

Jasper joined Fidra with a BSc in Marine Biology, experience in delivering national and local projects to increase public engagement in nature, sustainability and the environment and a lifelong passion for the outdoors.

Naomi Arnold
Project Officer

 

Naomi has a background in environmental education and engagement. She has a keen interest in encouraging individuals and businesses to create personal connections with nature and feel empowered to aid its conservation.

Hannah Evans
Project Officer

 

Hannah has a BSc degree in Environmental Science and background in both project management and research-based roles. Hannah has a strong interest in environmental chemistry and so is primarily focused on Fidra’s chemical pollutants projects.

Governance

 

Fidra is an SCIO and Scottish Registered Charity, SC043895, and is governed by a Board of Trustees. The charity’s activities are bound by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, which is regulated by OSCR. Day to day operations are overseen by the Director.

Board of Trustees:

 

Becky Gait (Chair)

 

Abigail Entwistle

Abi trained as a zoologist, and then did a PhD on the conservation biology of bats. She has worked for Fauna & Flora International since 1996 in a variety of roles, and is currently their Director of Conservation Science and Design.

 

David Gait

David Gait runs Sustainable Investment Funds at Stewart Investors.

 

Michelle Sutherland

Michelle has a strong personal interest in the environment and together with her partner commissioned the first Passive House in East Lothian which has won numerous awards for sustainable design.

© Michael Spencer