Shamrock Technology in Kentucky


Shamrock Technologies recycles PTFE, more commonly known as Teflon. It then sorts, classifies and chops the products into micronized powders that are used in everything from industrial lubricants to inks and coatings.

The company’s pollution has contaminated the soil and water outside of its three facilities in Henderson, and a creek that flows into the Ohio River. It impacts people who live near the facilities, schools, houses of worship, health care centers and grocery stores.


PFAS stand for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, chemicals that are used in products such as food packaging, cleaning products, firefighting foams, nonstick cookware, personal care items and more. They have been around for decades but are becoming more widely recognized as potential health threats.

Henderson is home to three facilities operated by Shamrock Technologies that recycle scrap PTFE products. The company takes off-spec PTFE, grinds it up, irradiates it and bakes it at high temperatures to remove residual chemicals.

In the process, air emissions leave through the plant’s smokestacks and are dispersed on the wind. They also find their way into nearby communities through stormwater, wastewater and even creeks.

The air pollution spreads to drinking water wells and is likely contaminating a creek that flows into the Ohio River. State records obtained by WFPL News show that PFAS levels at the Shamrock site rival those at EPA Superfund sites on military installations across the country.

Canoe Creek

Shamrock technology is an industrial producer of micronized powders and waxes for printing inks. Their products contain PFAS, or poly-fluoroalkyl substances, a family of chemicals prized for their ability to resist heat, oil and water.

The company recycles PTFE, also known as Teflon, to make these micronized powders and inks at its three industrial facilities in Kentucky, Belgium and China, according to their air permit. Their PFAS releases have resulted in high concentrations of these chemicals in a small creek that flows through the company’s Henderson plant, according to a state report.

Canoe Creek State Park features a 155-acre lake at its center, and is open year-round for fishing. It also features 12 miles of scenic trails that run through forests, fields, wetlands and shrubby areas. There are also a variety of historical sites to see, including the remnants of old lime kilns owned by the Blair Limestone Company.

Air Emissions

Air quality is a vital issue in Kentucky and around the country. It affects all aspects of life and poses a variety of health risks.

For instance, ground level ozone is formed when chemical reactions take place between oxides of nitrogen (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Industrial emissions from electric utilities, automobile exhaust, gasoline vapors, paints and cleaning solvents are among the main sources of NOX.

Meanwhile, particulate matter is another common pollutant found in Kentucky’s air. It can make breathing difficult and cause health problems such as coughing, asthma and bronchitis.

As part of the Clean Air Act, EPA regulates these pollutants. To do so, the EPA sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These standards are in place to protect public health and the environment.

Drinking Water

A water treatment plant and a water distribution system work together to provide safe drinking water. Kentucky’s Division of Water regulates public water systems.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires water systems to treat drinking water for a wide range of contaminants. Operators of water treatment plants and water distribution systems must complete continuing education courses to renew their licenses.

AYPO Tech offers a number of online courses to fulfill your required training. Our Pumps and Motors course teaches you how to properly maintain pumps used in drinking water treatment plants and groundwater wells.

Our Distribution System Water Quality Issues course will show you how to identify and address the different issues that affect the quality of your drinking water. Using this knowledge, you can improve the quality of your water supply and ensure that you are complying with all State regulations.

The environmental group Environmental Working Group has been studying PFAS for decades, and the levels found at Shamrock Technologies are among some of the highest concentrations it’s seen. It’s been calling for the EPA to take action on PFAS compounds since at least 2008.

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