And the numbers are startling:
Johnsie Lang, formerly with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development in Research Triangle Park, is one of four scientists who worked on the study. Now a consultant at an environmental engineering firm, Lang had previously studied these toxic compounds in carpet. “Carpet is known to be disposed in C&D landfills, so I assumed it was possible that PFAS leaching could be occurring,” she said.
Her hunch was right. The average PFAS level in the Florida C&D landfill leachate was 15,530 parts per trillion. To show the magnitude of that concentration, North Carolina has suggested a groundwater limit of just 70 ppt for two main types of the compound. Other states have even stronger groundwater standards.
You should probably sit down, 'cause I'm about to freak you out a little bit. When something like this comes up, we most often view it through the lens of our own family & friends: "We have mostly hardwood floors with an occasional rug placed here or there." North Carolina has over a half-million apartments right now, and will likely increase that number by 40%-50% by 2030. It is standard procedure (except in the most distressed areas) to pull up the old carpet and install new every few years, and in fact many (most?) new tenants expect it, along with a fresh coat of paint. Say 100,000 NC apartments get new carpet every year, totaling some 7.5 million square feet of discarded carpet. Yeah, it's a problem.