Environmental Sources, Chemistry, Fate, and Transport of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: State of the Science, Key Knowledge Gaps, and Recommendations Presented at the August 2019 SETAC Focus Topic Meeting


A Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Focused Topic Meeting (FTM) on the environmental management of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) convened during August 2019 in Durham, North Carolina (USA). Experts from around the globe were brought together to critically evaluate new and emerging information on PFAS including chemistry, fate, transport, exposure, and toxicity. After plenary presentations, breakout groups were established and tasked to identify and adjudicate via panel discussions overarching conclusions and relevant data gaps. The present review is one in a series and summarizes outcomes of presentations and breakout discussions related to (1) primary sources and pathways in the environment, (2) sorption and transport in porous media, (3) precursor transformation, (4) practical approaches to the assessment of source zones, (5) standard and novel analytical methods with implications for environmental forensics and site management, and (6) classification and grouping from multiple perspectives. Outcomes illustrate that PFAS classification will continue to be a challenge, and additional pressing needs include increased availability of analytical standards and methods for assessment of PFAS and fate and transport, including precursor transformation. Although the state of the science is sufficient to support a degree of site-specific and flexible risk management, effective source prioritization tools, predictive fate and transport models, and improved and standardized analytical methods are needed to guide broader policies and best management practices.


© 2021 The Authors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of SETAC This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


Perfluoroalkyl Substances, Analytical Chemistry, Risk Assessment, Fate and Transport, Classification, Precursor, Interfacial Sorption


Guelfo, J. L., Korzeniowski, S., Mills, M. A., Anderson, J., Anderson, R. H., Arblaster, J. A., Conder, J. M., Cousins, I. T., Dasu, K., Henry, B. J., Lee, L. S., Liu, J., McKenzie, E. R., & Willey, J. (2021). Environmental sources, chemistry, Fate, and transport of per‐ and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances: State of the science, key knowledge gaps, and recommendations presented at the August 2019 SETAC focus topic meeting. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 40(12), 3234–3260. https://doi.org/10.1002/etc.5182