Authors: Erin M.BellSylvainDe GuiseJeffrey R.McCutcheonYuLeiMiltonLevinBaikunLiJames F.RuslingDavid A.LawrenceJennifer M.CavallariCaitlinO’ConnellBethanyJavidiXinyuWangHeejeongRyu
Abstract: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) make up a large group of persistent anthropogenic chemicals which are difficult to degrade and/or destroy. PFAS are an emerging class of contaminants, but little is known about the long-term health effects related to exposure. In addition, technologies to identify levels of contamination in the environment and to remediate contaminated sites are currently inadequate. In this opinion-type discussion paper, a team of researchers from the University of Connecticut and the University at Albany discuss the scientific challenges in their specific but intertwined PFAS research areas, including rapid and low-cost detection, energy-saving remediation, the role of T helper cells in immunotoxicity, and the biochemical and molecular effects of PFAS among community residents with measurable PFAS concentrations. Potential research directions that may be employed to address those challenges and improve the understanding of sensing, remediation, exposure to, and health effects of PFAS are then presented. We hope our account of emerging problems related to PFAS contamination will encourage a broad range of scientific experts to bring these research initiatives addressing PFAS into play on a national scale.