Is sea air actually full of PFAS?
Researchers from Stockholm University have published a new study which explains how toxic, “forever chemicals” PFAS contaminating the ocean end up in the air.
When waves hit the beach, PFAS contained in air bubbles in the sea spray burst, constituting a significant source of air pollution for nearby costal communities. Researchers collected air samples from two coastal areas in Norway over a period of two years, highlighting scientific markers on the PFAS that indicated that they had been released by sea spray. They noted that samples from sites closer to the coast contained higher concentrations of airborne PFAS than further inland.
According to the Guardian, some regulators and industry have claimed for years that dumping PFAS in the ocean is an appropriate way to dispose of the chemicals, as over decades the substances are diluted. This new study undermines the theory, exposing the ‘boomerang’ effect of PFAS pollution. One re-emitted to the air from sea spray, PFAS can be transported long distances and deposited back onto land. One co-author states “our study gives a new dimension to the meaning of the term forever chemicals. Even the PFAS we thought would be lost to the sea boomerang back for us to be exposed all over again”.
CHEM Trust have consistently highlighted the extreme mobility of PFAS, being found everywhere from the blood of polar bears in the Arctic to the breast milk of humans around the globe. This latest study adds further evidence to the case for banning all but essential uses of PFAS, as strategies such as sea dumping are not effective ways to control the highly mobile nature of PFAS and the danger they can pose to the health of humans and wildlife.