Our civilized society has enjoyed the benefits of fluorochemicals for over 90 years. These per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been dubbed by the media as the “Forever Chemicals.” PFAS have been used in a variety of consumer products because they help to prevent oils and liquids from seeping through. PFAS might also be thought of as “Everywhere Chemicals,” because they are in the environment we live in and in the consumer products we use every day.
The media and general public at large have gone PFAS crazy about part-per-trillion (ppt) levels of these compounds in drinking water, food and beverages, and even air. As a result of the prevalence of PFAS being found in so many products, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made it their mission to question if PFAS are present in consumer products of virtually every shape and size. These NGOs have filed, and continue to file, lawsuits against numerous manufacturing companies.
As mentioned in the last edition of The Standard, Environmental Standards’ Chemistry Group had been retained to design and oversee a multi-month study comparing the potential of PFAS to leach into high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers. The study was recently published in the journal Environmental Advances.
Because of the potential regulatory concerns, the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Committee F15 formed a subcommittee on PFAS to develop guidance on how to evaluate the presence of PFAS in consumer products.
While active on a number of ASTM committees, Environmental Standards’ Managing Principal, Rock Vitale, was appointed by ASTM as Co-Chair of this important subcommittee. “PFAS are intentionally added to or inadvertently present as a component in a significant number of consumer products,” said Vitale. “The new subcommittee will develop standards that provide guidance on how to prepare and analyze a wide variety of consumer product samples for PFAS. These standards will provide useful information to legislative and regulatory bodies and trade associations regarding the presence and levels of PFAS in consumer products,” said Vitale.