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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Verification Analysis for PFAS in Pesticide Products

A memorandum promulgated by U.S. EPA reports that the Analytical Chemistry Branch (ACB) of the Office of Pesticide Programs, Biological and Economic Analysis Division (BEAD) did not detect PFAS in the 10 tested pesticide products when it based its analysis on a newly developed methodology targeted towards eliminating false positive detections. 

May 18, 2023 | United States EPA

Study by Harvard Researchers Says PFAS Precursors Could Contaminate Military Sites for Decades

A study by a team of Harvard University researchers says current approaches to cleaning up contamination from PFAS-based firefighting foam, known as aqueous-film forming foam (AFFF), at Defense Department (DOD) sites fail to target precursor chemicals that could continue to produce regulated PFAS for centuries, adding to questions about the pace of DOD’s efforts. “The estimated PFAS reservoir in the vadose zone and modeled flux into groundwater suggest PFAS contamination above regulatory guidelines will persist for centuries without remediation,” the study says. The vadose zone is the Earth’s terrestrial subsurface that extends from the surface to the regional groundwater table.

The researchers contend this work highlights the importance of unregulated and often overlooked precursors for total PFAS exposures near AFFF releases and their role in sustaining high concentrations of regulated terminal PFSA, especially PFBS and PFHxS. “Little is known about population-wide exposure to precursors.”

May 15, 2023 | Environmental Science & Technology