Yale School of Public Health Symposium: An overview of the challenges and opportunities associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Paul Anastas, James Saiers and 28 other contributors

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    On December 13, 2019, the Yale School of Public Health hosted a symposium titled "Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Challenges and Opportunities" in New Haven, Connecticut. The meeting focused on the current state of the science on these chemicals, highlighted the challenges unique to PFAS, and explored promising opportunities for addressing them. It brought together participants from Yale University, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the University of Connecticut, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the Connecticut Departments of Public Health and Energy and Environmental Protection, and the public and private sectors. Presentations during the symposium centered around several primary themes. The first reviewed the current state of the science on the health effects associated with PFAS exposure and noted key areas that warranted future research. As research in this field relies on specialized laboratory analyses, the second theme considered commercially available methods for PFAS analysis as well as several emerging analytical approaches that support health studies and facilitate the investigation of a broader range of PFAS. Since mitigation of PFAS exposure requires prevention and cleanup of contamination, the third theme highlighted new nanotechnology-enabled PFAS remediation technologies and explored the potential of green chemistry to develop safer alternatives to PFAS. The fourth theme covered collaborative efforts to assess the vulnerability of in-state private wells and small public water supplies to PFAS contamination by adjacent landfills, and the fifth focused on strategies that promote successful community engagement. This symposium supported a unique interdisciplinary coalition established during the development of Connecticut's PFAS Action Plan, and discussions occurring throughout the symposium revealed opportunities for collaborations among Connecticut scientists, state and local officials, and community advocates. In doing so, it bolstered the State of Connecticut's efforts to implement the ambitious initiatives that its PFAS Action Plan recommends. (C) 2021 Published by Elsevier B.V.