Event COTE - High Volume, Low information: Uses of PFAS in the Built Environment

April 22, 2021 - 12:00pm

This event has already occurred.



Speaker: Tom Bruton, PhD

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of highly fluorinated synthetic chemicals notable for their non-stick, waterproof, and grease resistant properties and also for their extreme environmental persistence. Building materials are a high-volume use of PFAS that have received relatively little attention. PFAS have many uses in the building industry, including in roofing materials, flooring, paints and coatings, sealants, glass, and more. Annual sales of PFAS-containing building materials are more than $26 billion. In this talk, we will summarize publicly available information about uses of PFAS in different building product categories. We will also review exposure concerns associated with the presence of PFAS in these products throughout their lifecycle, from manufacturing, to use, to recycling and disposal.We'll conclude with a discussion of how architects, builders, and non-profits are working with manufacturers to understand where PFAS are used in the building industry and to encourage the development of safer replacements based on green chemistry.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the health risks of exposure to the PFAS class of synthetic chemicals.
  2. Realize which building products and materials contain these toxic chemicals.
  3. Understand the associated risks to installers, manufacturer employees and the natural environment.
  4. Gain clarity on how to avoid PFAS use in buildings and how to encourage the use of safer replacements.

Note: This seminar will highlight one of the immortal chemicals used in buildings and building materials that find their way into the environment and our bodies. In order to come prepared to dig in, listen and learn please consider watching this series of short (less than 4 minute) videos including this video on PFAS prior to the seminar. We look forward to a great discussion!

View the slide deck

View the recording