Purdue University

Strategic Research Teams

PFAS, or “Forever Chemicals,” pose a threat to both human and environmental health. 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 and 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.

Co-lead by Dr. Jennifer Freeman (HSCI), Marisol Sepúlveda (FNR) ISF supports the work of a collaborative and interdisciplinary team of about a dozen scientists across 4 colleges and 8 departments that is committed to addressing challenges posed by PFAS through research. 

Our scientists work on diverse PFAS-related problems ranging from how PFAS affect health to how we can engineer less-toxic replacements for PFAS in processes such as fabricating semi-conductors and in products such as make up and fire-fighting foams. 

Select from the tiles below to learn more about our work being done in these areas.  

scientist studying data
PFAS Quantification
Our researchers work to increase the efficiency and reliability of screening methods for detecting and quantifying PFAS concentrations. In addition, the Lee lab has capacity to conduct state-of-the-art analyses in a variety of media.
scientist holding frog
Bioaccumulation and Ecotoxicity
Our team establishes detailed information on the occurrence of PFAS in different environments with an emphasis on aquatic systems and food webs. They have also helped identify key toxicity levels of PFAS mixtures in aquatic environments.
human health
Effects on Human Health
Having been widely used around the globe since the 1940s, PFAS are found in tissues of most humans. A key challenge explored by our research is identifying potential risks and combining strategies of reduction and remediation.
pfas free material
PFAS, Materials and Manufacturing
PFAS are common in many household and industrial uses and products ranging from aqueous fire-fighting foams to semiconductors. Our researchers look to identify and test materials and manufacturing processes with the goal of identifying functional replacements for PFAS.
hands holding water
Social and Economic Impacts
Our researchers study inequities in exposure and impact on communities. Identifying risk factors and remediation strategies to address challenges.
Remediation & PFAS Removal
Several Purdue faculty members conduct research on related to the challenge of developing effective methods to sequester or remove PFAS substances from contaminated liquid streams such as groundwater, drinking water, wastewater, and other industrial effluents as well as from other media such as soil and air.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 

ISF supports research and partnerships to accelerate the transition to a sustainable resilient and prosperous future by aligning our work with one or more of the SDGs.  Each team identifies specific goals related to their area.  For the PFAS Strategic Research Team this includes: 

SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Beingr            SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation            SDG 14 Life Below Water



Learn more about PFAS and our Purdue faculty who conduct research in this area by clicking on the white paper below.  

 cover letter of white paper written by Purdue PFAS Team



Lee, L.S.; Zenobio, J.E. (2023). Activated carbon supported Ni0Fe0 nanoparticles for reductive transformation of perfluoroalkyl-containing compounds. US Patent No. 11565139. 


Key Collaborators

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