Publication in: Fall 2022 Issue

PFAS Contamination in WNC Waterways
Cassie Bailey
Faculty Mentor(s):
John W. Brock
Abstract / Summary:
Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of over 4,700 man-made compounds that have been produced beginning in the 1950s, have become widespread environmental contaminants. PFAS compounds have been found ubiquitously in the environment and have been found in the blood of 97% of Americans.Past research done by the Brock Lab group (Henry Hill and Steven Defigila) adapted a solid phase extraction method (EPA 533) to extract PFAS compounds from water. The work by Henry Hill and Steven Delfugia found that surface waters near areas of routine fire fighting practice often had higher concentrations of PFAS. Recently, concerns have arisen about the presence of PFAS compounds in artificial turf fields. The presence of PFAS compounds in the fields could potentially be damaging to the health of people who use or live downstream of these fields. The current project sampled bodies of water located downstream of artificial turf fields in order to see if a correlation exists between artificial turf and surface water PFAS contamination. Several locations were found with combined PFAS levels above 10 ppt. Six PFAS compounds (8:2FTS, 4:2FTS, PFHxS, PFBA and PFOS) were found in more than one location with artificial turf. Extractions were also done on samples of artificial turf from different brands. The first round of extractions, done in pure water with glacial acetic acid, did not show PFAS contamination. The second round of extractions done in 50% water and 50% ACN have not been analyzed at this time
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