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PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been used in manufacturing as far back as the 1940’s. According to the EPA these are “a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals.” Some of these chemicals take a long time to break down, thus can amass over time. With increased or repeated exposure some PFAS can lead to adverse human effects.
As previously noted, these chemicals have been in use for over 80 years. They can be found in various consumer goods components, grease resistant paper and food packaging, water resistant clothing, and some cleaning products to name a few things. People are likely most familiar with the use of PFAS in old non-stick pots and pans. However, the use of PFAS within non-stick cookware has been largely phased out in the U.S.
The EPA is a great resource for additional information on PFAS within consumer goods. https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas
To understand the levels of PFAS found in various items, the EPA uses test method 537 for drinking-water samples. The EPA has modified this test method (Method 537M) for testing PFAS levels in non-drinking water specimens. This test can detect up to 30 different PFAS compounds. The EPA also has a leachable PFAS test (Method 1312) which simulates leachates through rainfall. These tests have become increasingly popular within various parks and recreation groups as part of their required tests for synthetic turf components, including infill.
One of the first municipalities to adopt PFAS testing within its synthetic turf components was San Francisco Recreation and Parks. Envirofill, a coated round sand infill, was put through these tests to affirm its preferred use within their synthetic turf systems. While the lengthy 700+ page report can be found on our Partner Portal (here) I’ll provide you with the cliff notes, but shh don’t tell the teacher.
PFAS were not detected above the method reporting limit for Envirofill or its leachate. In other words, Envirofill and any rainwater runoff from Envirofill is clean of PFAS even at the smallest possible detection limit within these EPA test methods.
PFAS is one of many things to consider when designing your artificial turf field, backyard lawn, putting green, or green space. If you have other areas of concern, we would be happy to help. Chances are we’ve got a test result to share with you! Register for our partner portal to learn more about test results.