This book is a practical reference work for researchers and industrialists seeking to identify safer alternatives to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in various applications. These “forever chemicals” have been widely used in industry and consumer products, raising serious concerns about their impacts on human health and the environment. It is becoming increasingly clear that such problematic chemicals that can last virtually forever in the environment cannot continue to be used forever. A sustainable future cannot be built with unsustainable chemicals.
In this book, we explore the challenges and opportunities in moving toward a PFAS-free future. We examine the science of PFASs, their sources and pathways of exposure, and their impacts on human health and the environment. We also review the regulatory landscape and the emerging policy frameworks aimed at addressing the PFAS crisis.
But this book is not only about the PFAS problem. It is also about developing solutions, offering guidance on how to identify and evaluate safer and more sustainable alternatives. We examine case studies of identifying safer alternatives to PFASs in food and household packaging, textiles, firefighting gear, floor polish, and building materials, as well as options for removing PFASs from carpet fibers during the recycling process. These case studies demonstrate that it is possible to transition away from PFASs while avoiding haphazard substitutions by embracing the principles of green and sustainable chemistry during research and development.
This book is the result of a fruitful and long-standing collaboration between the Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Program at the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry (BCGC) at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. Both organizations share a common mission of promoting the principles and practices of green and sustainable chemistry, and of identifying safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals.
SCP is a California state regulatory program that aims to advance the design, development, and use of products that are chemically safer for people and the environment. The program uses a science-based approach to identify consumer products containing chemicals of concern, and works with product manufacturers to find safer alternatives.
BCGC offers the Greener Solutions graduate course at UC Berkeley, which is a hands-on, project-based course that engages students in the process of identifying and evaluating alternatives to hazardous chemicals in various applications. The course is designed to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and to provide students with the practical skills and knowledge needed to address real-world green chemistry challenges.
This book is a testament to the success of the interdisciplinary collaboration necessary to apply green and sustainable chemistry. Such collaborations will be critical on the road toward a PFAS-free future.
The authors would like to thank Thomas McKeag, former Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry, for initiating and spearheading this project in the early phases. We also acknowledge the hard work of all the students whose research has produced the proposed solutions in these case studies. We are grateful to David Grealish from DTSC for developing the graphical illustrations in Chapters 1 and 10, and to Helen Armes and Amina Headley from the Royal Society of Chemistry for their publishing support.
Simona A. Bălan
Thomas A. Bruton
Kimberly G. Hazard