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Occurrence, distribution and toxicity of emerging perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) alternatives

About this project

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Project status

In progress 2019 - 2022


Leo Yeung

Research subject

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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic chemicals in various industrial and commercial applications. Because of their environmental persistence, bioaccumulation potential and toxicity, international regulations, for examples, Stockholm Convention and REACH, have been issued to reduce the production and use of some PFAS (e.g., perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)). Consequently, a series of other fluorinated compounds have been produced as replacement. Studies have shown that some newly identified PFAS alternatives may be even more bioaccumulative and toxic than those of PFOS and PFOA. Recent OECD report also shows that a number of unidentified PFAS alternatives have been in-use in global market; their chemical identities and toxicities are not well-understood.

In this study, we aim to (1) investigate the occurrence, distribution and bioaccumulation potential of some newly identified PFAS alternatives in Chinese and Swedish environment; (2) to characterize their sources, patterns, and potential exposure pathways of these newly identified PFAS alternatives to humans; (3) to ascertain the most sensitive (critical) toxic effect and pathways by PFAS alternatives, and explore the relationship between their toxicity and chemical structure. Furthermore, new insights in the green synthesis for PFAS alternatives and toxicity testing for new chemicals will be provided.

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