Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that have been manufactured and used in the United States since the 1940s. PFAS are commonly found in both household and industrial products such as non-stick coatings, stain and water repellent fabrics, and cleaning chemicals. Ground water contamination with PFAS has been associated with fire-fighting foams, manufacturing sites, landfills, and other industrial operations. Because of their chemical structure, PFAS are highly persistent in both the environment and human body. Studies have indicated that some PFAS compounds may be associated with adverse health effects, including:
Increased emphasis on green building design has resulted in a greater demand for more energy efficient building materials such as spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulations. Despite their excellent air sealing capability and insulating properties, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized that exposure to the isocyanates and other vapors, aerosols, and dusts created during and after installation, may cause respiratory sensitization, asthma, and odors.
Legionella is a type of Gram-negative bacteria that occurs naturally in freshwater environments. Although it is present in nature, Legionella becomes a substantial health concern when allowed to multiply in a building’s water systems. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), from 2000 through 2015, there were 49,930 confirmed Legionnaires’ cases in the United States. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia that can rapidly become fatal. It is caused by breathing in aerosolized water droplets containing Legionella, with the majority of recognized Legionnaires’ disease cases occurring in hotels, resorts, cruise ships, and the healthcare setting.