EWG Study Determines Approximately 1,500 US Textile Mills Likely Discharge PFAS

Jan. 27, 2022

The extent of the PFAS discharges from textile mills are unclear.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has identified more than 1,500 textile mills that may be releasing the per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFAS).

The EWG analysis follows a recent report by Toxic-Free Future finding PFAS in coats, tablecloths, bedding and other textiles. 

EWG’s analysis is based on a review of government data released by the U.S. EPA. EWG found 1,501 manufacturers of textiles may be discharging PFAS, and there are currently no standards that limit PFAS discharges into air and water by textile mills, reported EWG

Overall, EWG has found 29,900 industrial sites that could be using PFAS. The textile industry is a significant user of PFAS chemicals, according to EWG, but the extent of the PFAS discharges from textile mills are unclear.

These sites include: electroplating and polishing, petroleum stations and terminals, chemical manufacturers, metal product makers, commercial printing facilities, plastics and resin manufacturing sites, paint and coating manufacturers, semiconductor manufacturers and electrical component makers.

EWG has created a Suspected Industrial Discharges of PFAS Map, using data from the EPA Chemical Data Reporting Rule database, the EPA Enforcement and Compliance History Online database, Federal Aviation Administration data, and a survey by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The map shows the locations of 41,828 industrial and municipal sites that are known to produce or use, are suspected of using, or are a suspected source of the toxic PFAS.

“PFAS exposure can cause serious health impacts at very low levels. It is a public health crisis that these chemicals can and may be dumped into the air and water downstream of textile mills and other industrial sites,” said David Andrews, Ph.D., a senior scientist at EWG, reported the group.

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Cristina Tuser

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