Purdue University

PFAS Strategic Research Team

“Forever chemicals” is a catch-all term that refers to a family of over 4,000 types of chemicals designed to repel grease, water, and oil. They can take millennia to break down, and often degrade into smaller-chain chemicals. They appear in hundreds of common domestic products including stick-free cookware, water-proof treated fabrics, cleaning products, food packaging and fire-fighting foams. Also known by their more technical names, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), they have been shown to increase the risk of cancer, increase cholesterol levels, impact the immune system as well as hormonal functioning in animals including humans. Having been widely used around the globe since the 1940s, they are found in tissues of most people. A key challenge is identifying potential risks and combining strategies of reduction and remediation.

Through Purdue University’s Institute for a Sustainable Future, faculty researchers from various departments across campus come together to share expertise, create teams, engage in research and work with government, industry and nonprofits to help identify risks and find solutions to fundamental problems associated with PFAS and related forever chemicals.

Key issues our researchers are working include: studies of the toxicity of PFAS mixtures; effects of PFAS on the thyroid, endocrine and central nervous systems; persistence of PFAS in soil, water and waste effluents; and ecological effects of PFAS on aquatic communities.

Co-leads: Jennifer Freeman (HSCI), Marisol Sepúlveda (FNR)

To learn more about PFAS and our Purdue faculty who conduct research on them, see our white paper.

Selected Current PFAS Projects