If you are in climate circles, you might be familiar with Daikin America. The company produces refrigerants and air source heat pumps. Their logo often appears in the list of corporations supporting major climate conferences, and the company emphasizes its commitment to sustainability.
On September 16, 2021, Toxic Free Future released anew report, showing another side of the company’s operations.
Daikin manufacture PFAS for food packaging. PFAS coating prevents wet and fatty food from soaking through paper-based food containers.
This PFAS production takes place at Daikin’s Decatur, Alabama plant, where Daikin is the nation’s #2 producer of HCFC-22, a potent greenhouse gas banned by the Montreal Protocol. HCFC-22 depletes the ozone layer and has a global warming potential (GWP) 5280 times greater than carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, the Montreal Protocol allowed continued production of HCFCs when used as an intermediary to produce another chemical. In Decatur, Daikin makes HCFC-22 in order to make PFAS. In doing so, Daikin released 240,584 pounds of HCFC-22. This is the equivalent of one billion pounds of carbon dioxide. Or 125,000 cars driving for a year.
The company also released PFAS to air and wastewater, contributing to drinking water contamination and elevated levels of PFAS in the blood of community residents. Two thirds of Decatur residents are Black and Hispanic. Sludge from the wastewater treatment plant downstream of Daikin (and an adjacent 3M plant) was spread on farms for years, resulting in further contamination.
Food packaging should be PFAS-free. We’ll take greasy fingers over a billion pounds of CO2 any day.