Experts from across sectors convene to discuss PFAS solutions at Andlinger Center summit

Written by
Colton Poore, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
June 17, 2024

Over 80 leaders from academia, industry, and the public sector gathered on Princeton’s campus in April to brainstorm impactful solutions for combating PFAS contamination.

PFAS (poly- and perfluoryl alkyl substances) are a group of over 12,000 long-lasting compounds commonly found in products such as non-stick cookware, water-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foams. Long-term exposure to PFAS, sometimes called ‘forever chemicals’ for their ability to persist for extended periods in the environment, has been linked to cancer and other illnesses in humans and poses a significant public health hazard.

“Our goal is not just to better understand the scale of the problem but to spearhead the development of effective strategies for mitigating the negative impacts of PFAS,” said Angela Fasnacht, the Gerhard R. Andlinger Visiting Fellow who led the event, in her opening remarks. “We are here today to share insights with one another and form long-lasting partnerships on the road to solving the problem of PFAS pollution, a challenge that requires innovation, collaboration, and dedicated funding.”

The summit emphasized the issue of PFAS in biosolids — the solid organic matter recovered from the wastewater treatment process. These biosolids are nutrient-rich and are often applied to agricultural lands, yet much of the PFAS entering a wastewater treatment plant tends to accumulate in them, potentially allowing the contaminants to enter the food chain.

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