These infographics and other resources have been created and curated by Dr. Kathleen Gray's group. Available on the Network website
NC PFAST Network News               January 2020

 Dear PFAS Testing Network Colleagues,
We hope that you were able to rest and rejuvenate during the winter break, and that 2020 is a year of opportunities, good health, and prosperity. It’s an exciting and busy time as the new semester is underway and the application and admissions process is in full swing at our universities. We submitted our sixth quarterly report to the NC General Assembly in early January and are looking forward to activities planned in the coming months. In mid-to-late February, the Project Management Team is coordinating a meeting with state regulators to update each other on progress to date, and our Risk Communications Team is organizing a public forum in Fayetteville (agenda available soon on the website). The NC Policy Collaboratory will also be holding a public meeting in Cumberland County during March, and before you know it, we’ll be having our 3rd Network Symposium at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh (Save the date: May 19, 2020). 

Whether your team is wrapping up projects or continuing to analyze samples and data, it is critical that you work with the Data Science and Management Team to start uploading validated results to the DataHub. We want to keep the momentum going and ensure that our findings are accessible and clearly presented to the public. Thank you all for your hard work, innovative science and communication, and service to the people in the State of North Carolina.

Most sincerely,

PFAS Testing Network Project Management Team
UNC-Chapel Hill

*As a reminder, all our previous newsletters are available hereWe encourage you especially to go back and check out the 'Meet a Network Scientist' section to learn about some of the creative and dedicated researchers working on important PFAS projects.
Network Bulletin
Team Quarterly Progress Report - due Mar 18
Quarterly Report to NC Legislature - due April 1st

Meet a Network Scientist


Can you provide background information about yourself?
My academic trajectory has been fairly tortuous (membrane pun intended). I received my B.S. in Pharmacology from UC Santa Barbara and my M.S. in Biology & Geography (with an Ecotoxicology specialization) from Jagiellonian University in Krakow. I recently wrapped up my PhD in Environmental Sciences and Engineering from UNC Chapel Hill, where I worked with Orlando Coronell in assessing PFAS removal efficiency by various types of high-pressure membranes. I kept busy between my degrees by working at a pharmaceutical company, volunteering at a water quality analysis lab in Cambodia, and traveling as much as possible (51 countries - and counting!)

How did you get involved in the PFAST Network? What are you doing?
I’ve been involved in many aspects of the PFAST Network, which has made my involvement in this effort that much more exciting. My first role with the Network came through the Collaboratory, where I worked as a Research Assistant supporting Jeff Warren in administrative and organizational matters. I also assisted the Ferguson and Knappe labs for several months, helping Team 1 collect and prep samples for PFAS analysis. But the bulk of my PFAST Network involvement has really been with Team 3 – testing the efficiency of various RO membranes in the removal of ~30 types of PFAS compounds from different water matrices.

Which people in your field have been most influential to you and your career?
Smokey Bear. It was his assembly in elementary school that set me on my environmental science/engineering path. I strayed a bit – opting for a career in drinking water treatment rather than forest fire prevention – but I think Smokey would still be proud.

What major future research questions do you hope to address (PFAS related or otherwise)?
Studies evaluating PFAS rejection by high-pressure membranes are limited both in number and scope.  My goal is to build upon current knowledge by achieving a better understanding of how physicochemical interactions between PFASs, drinking water sources, and membranes govern PFAS removal. This information could benefit drinking water treatment facilities as well as private consumers in picking the right type of membrane to achieve a desired water quality.


PFAS Article Highlight

Note: Due to unforseen events the Project Management Office could not write a personal review of the highlighted PFAS article but plans to resume that feature next month.


In early 2019 North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services conducted a survey of residents near the Chemours Fayetteville Works Facility to document concerns about GenX and other PFAS chemicals. Survey results will be used to tailor response efforts and health education activities to better meet community needs. Important findings from this survey include: many people have changed their water usage and decreased or stopped activities such as gardening around their home, and are concerned about potential health effects such as cancer. There are also common misconceptions about PFAS exposures and need for additional research and a variety of communication materials. Read the full survey report here.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials has been tracking PFAS related legislative action across the country and has created resources to keep the public updated on developments. 2019 state legislatures considered PFAS monitoring, restricting PFAS use, and PFAS remediation and calls for federal support. ASTHO expects to see 2020 policy proposal trends around the use of PFAS chemicals in food and product packaging, the advancement of research to better understand the health effects of PFAS contamination, and calls for federal guidance to standardize assessments and set environmental limits. Find more details here and a one-page prospectus here.

Eurofins TestAmerica is offering a series of six new webinars on PFAS beginning in January. The goal of this series is to provide education, add to the discussion on the latest science on PFAS, and provide critical updates regarding the regulatory framework. Topics of discussion will include:
- PFAS: State of the Union (past)
- Introduction to PFAS (Feb 4)
- Dispelling the Myths (Feb 11)
- Producing Defensible Data (Mar 3)
- Site Investigation Challenges and Best Practices (Mar 24)
- Closing the PFAS Mass Balance (Apr 7)

Register for webinars and find more information here.

The Environmental Protection Agency has added 160 PFAS to the Toxics Release Inventory as required by a military spending law (Public Law 116-92) enacted in December. Companies will have to report their releases of the listed PFAS for calendar year 2020 and the agency will then make the information available to the public. The list includes PFOA, PFOS, the pesticide sulfluramid and GenX. See the full list of added PFAS here.

News Roll

FDA Makes Available Results from Second Round of Testing for PFAS in Foods from the General Food Supply (Dec 20)
The Food and Drug Administration has shared results from the second round of testing for 16 types of PFAS in foods collected for the Total Diet Study (TDS). TDS foods represent a broad range of foods (including breads, cakes, produce, meats, poultry, fish, and bottled water) the average consumer might eat that were not specifically collected from areas of known environmental PFAS contamination. FDA tested 88 foods and found one sample—tilapia— had a detectable level of PFOS. PFOS was also detected in the two samples with detectable levels—ground turkey and tilapia— reported in the first round of testing. Based on the best available current science, the FDA has no indication that PFOS levels found in the limited sampling from these TDS data sets present a human health concern. Read more here.

The Hill: Trump officials voice opposition to 'forever chemical' bill (Jan 7)
The White House announced earlier this month that President Trump would likely veto legislation designed to manage PFAS leaching into the water supply. House lawmakers have voted in favor of a bill requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to designate PFAS as hazardous substances to free up funds for the cleanup at contaminated sites, regulate PFAS air pollution under Clean Air Act and impose new regulations for production and cleanup. The Trump administration argues that such a move would force high compliance costs on businesses and states, and that the EPA, not Congress, should make the decision. Read more here.
RELATED: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and business groups have published a letter urging against the strict PFAS regulations proposed here.

EWG: PFAS Contamination of Drinking Water Far More Prevalent Than Previously Reported (Jan 22)
New laboratory tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group have found PFAS in the drinking water of dozens of U.S. cities, including major metropolitan areas. EWG tested tap water samples from 44 locations in 31 states and District of Columbia and found no traces of PFAS in only the sample from Meridian, Mississippi which gets water from wells more than 700 feet deep. The highest PFAS level of 185.9ppt was detected in Brunswick County, NC followed by 109.8ppt detected in Quad Cities, Iowa. Based on these tests and recent academic research finding PFAS widespread in rainwater, EWG scientists believe PFAS is likely detectable in all major water supplies in country, especially ones using surface water. Find more detailed results here.
RELATED: Read Brunswick County's statement in response to this EWG report here.
MORE ABOUT PFAS IN RAINWATER: Check out The Guardian article explaining this study here.

Publications and Other Research
Environmental International (Jan 2020): Perfluoroalkyl substances, airways infections, allergy and asthma related health outcomes – implications of gender, exposure period and study design
H.E. Kvalem, U.C. Nygaard, K.C. Lødrup Carlsen, K.H.Carlsen, and L.S. Haug, B.Granum
Chemosphere (Jan 2020): Evaluation of perfluoroalkyl substances in field-cultivated vegetables
Heesoo Eun, Eriko Yamazaki, Sachi Taniyasu, Agata Miecznikowska, Jerzy Falandysz, and Nobuyoshi Yamashita
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (Jan 2020): Sociodemographic and behavioral determinants of serum concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in a community highly exposed to aqueous film-forming foam contaminants in drinking water
Kelsey E. Barton, Anne P. Starling, Christopher P. Higgins, Carrie A. McDonough, Antonia M. Calafat, and John L. Adgate
Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis (Jan 2020): P018 Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are significantly increased in patients with late-onset of ulcerative colitis
F Fart, S Salihovic, A McGlinchey, M Orešič, J Halfvarson, T Hyötyläinen, and I Schoultz

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