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Known as “forever chemicals” for their ability to stay in the environment and humans’ blood stream indefinitely, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a particularly nasty type of substance that thankfully is being slowly phased out of building products.
Green Seal, a leading green product certification organization, has announced it will no longer allow paints and coatings, floor care products, adhesives, and degreasers certified with Green Seal standards to contain any PFAS. The organization had previously eliminated PFAS in cleaning and personal care products it certifies. Many Green Seal products are used to help contribute to LEED points in the materials category, so Green Seal effectively banning PFAS in these several product categories is a big step toward eliminating PFAS from buildings altogether.
A recent study found that half of tested paint products contain PFAS, which may be used for glossiness, to reduce peeling, or for stain resistance or water repellency. Most acrylic and wax floor finishes on the market contain PFAS as leveling and wetting agents, and PFAS are also used to increase wettability in adhesives or reduce flammability in cleaning and degreasing agents.
“Both producers and buyers know the hazards of PFAS but lack reliable ways to ensure products are free of these toxic chemicals,” said Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal in a release. “Green Seal’s standard criteria will eliminate PFAS throughout the product formula supply chain while maintaining performance requirements, so buyers can choose safer, healthier, and effective products with confidence.”
Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine.
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