PF As Saint Gobain

"Saint Gobain's toxic & persistent PFAS chemicals polluted waters and threatened aquatic life."

The Impaakt Team

7 min Read Time | May 6th 2022

PF As Saint Gobain

How do PFAS impact the environment and aquatic life?

Our article of the week selects the top published pieces on the Impaakt platform that week. We assess how companies impact the planet and society through their products, processes, and even their ideas—ultimately creating data and reports for financial institutes to use when decision making.

The winner this week is:

Written by: Luana Schwendler

Company: Saint Gobain

SDG 14: Life below Water

Read the full article below.

"Saint Gobain's toxic and persistent PFAS chemicals polluted waters and threatened the aquatic life."

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are chemicals widely used to manufacture everyday life products and employed in many industries, such as automotive, construction, and electronics1. These chemicals are very persistent, have high mobility through the atmosphere and water, present bioaccumulation potential, and have possible adverse effects on living organisms3;p1. Moreover, PFAS in the air can dissolve in rain or snow and contaminate water and soil2. Due to the propensity for bioaccumulation in aquatic organisms, even extremely low or undetectable concentrations of PFAS in the environment present adverse health effects to aquatic animals5;p2. In the United States (US), the safety threshold for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion (ppt)6.

Saint Gobain (SG) is engaged in designing, developing, and distributing innovative solutions, mainly building materials, with manufacturing sites in 70 countries worldwide4;p4,5.

SG has been repeatedly accused of polluting water sources with PFAS in the US6,8. The company has a factory that produces PFAS-lined glass in Merrimack, New Hampshire, US6. In 2016, two of Merrimack's water wells contained above limit concentrations of a type of PFAS6. In 2019, 190 PFAS chemicals were found in the air emissions coming out of the plant’s stack6, which can ultimately contaminate water sources2. As of September 2021, tests showed that SG is still emitting PFAS in Merrimack7.

SG has a Teflon (a type of PFAS) plant in Hoosick Fall, New York, US6,8. In 2014, Hoosick Fall's water sources presented levels of PFAS as high as 600 ppt8. Concentrations up to 21,000 ppt were found near an SG factory dump, which is 300 times above the limit8. In 2016, SG and three other companies were sued for the pollution of Hoosick Fall water sources9. PFAS do not break down thus they persist for many years10.

Saint Gobain's PFAS repeatedly contaminates water sources. PFAS are very persistent and toxic chemicals that, even at low concentrations, affect the water.

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