PFAS Science Updates


The scientific community’s understanding of the health and environmental effects of PFAS is evolving at a rapid pace. At the same time, researchers are developing new technologies to assess and remediate PFAS contamination. This section provides the latest updates on developments in PFAS-related science and technology.

Content in this section does not reflect the opinion of Alston & Bird or its attorneys.

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Subsurface PFAS Distribution at Two Contaminated Sites

An EPA study found that four PFAS substances have sufficient vapor pressure to be designated as vapor-forming chemicals. Vapor-forming chemicals warrant investigation for vapor intrusion when they occur as subsurface contaminants at sites subject to federal statutes for land cleanup, such as CERCLA and RCRA. This report represents the EPA’s initial research into whether the vapor intrusion exposure pathway is pertinent to PFAS chemicals with a focus on fluorotelomer alcohols, which are common chemical intermediaries and byproducts in some PFAS manufacturing operations. According to the EPA, “the research will provide regulators information that will help them decide whether [vapor intrusion] should be evaluated at the hundreds of sites where PFAS are reasonably expected to have been released to the subsurface.”

November 2023 | EPA Office of Research and Development

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in PubChem: 7 Million and Growing

In 2021, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development revised the definition of PFAS to include any chemical with at least one fully fluorinated methyl or methylene carbon atom. As a result, PubChem, one of the largest open chemical databases used in suspect screening, now contains over 7 million PFAS.

October 23, 2023 | Environmental Science & Technology

PFAS in Consumer Products: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps

This study provides an analysis of the types and concentrations of PFAS in consumer products as reported in the literature over the past decade based on 52 studies. It highlighted several gaps in knowledge.

September 27, 2023 | Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters

Degradation of Emerging PFAS Using an Electrochemical Plug Flow Reactor

This study is the first to investigate the degradability of 10 emerging PFAS by an electrochemical plug flow reactor. The authors reported that emerging types of PFAS can potentially be degraded using this technology with relatively low electrical energy requirements.

August 29, 2023 | Journal of Hazardous Materials