Few emerging issues are as contentious for the waste industry as contamination by PFAS. The non-stick so-called "forever chemicals" are found in everything from firefighting foam and kitchenware to dental floss and rain jackets. Due to their widespread nature, the chemicals — which have been linked to cancer and numerous health problems — exist in the blood of most humans, and are likely in most if not all landfills.
Waste Dive has closely followed how the industry grapples with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as the challenging chemicals cause pressure for landfills and other facilities throughout the country. Another recently emerging area of contention is the incineration of PFAS, which has sparked legislation over concerns about contamination and public health risks. A number of organizations, including SWANA and EREF, are conducting broad research on PFAS and waste disposal sites, as is the U.S. EPA.
This page includes highlights of our PFAS coverage from 2018-2021. Read highlights from 2022 here.