Living PFAS Research Synthesis

Welcome to the Living PFAS website.

What is PFAS and why do we care about it?

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) comprise a group of thousands of human-made chemicals that are widely used in numerous industry and household applications worldwide. Furthermore, PFAS are water and oil repellent, heat resistant and protect surfaces from damage and staining. Two of the most famous applications of PFAS are Teflon and fire foam.

Besides their beneficial properties, PFAS are under strong suspicion to cause health issues like breast cancer, obesity and premature births in people and animals. As these substances are extremely persistent in the environment, studies found that most places and lifeforms on our planet contain at least small concentrations of PFAS. Humans and animals are usually exposed to PFAS via contaminated water and food. Seafood and fish usually carry the highest PFAS burden compared to other food items.

In the body, PFAS can bind to the proteins in our blood and muscles where they remain for several years. Thanks to national and international agreements like the Stockholm Convention the production and use of certain types of PFAS is declining, whereas others have stayed the same or increased.

What is this website for?

This website aims to provide an overview of the distribution and abundance of PFAS in wildlife, the overview of the scientific literature summarising knowledge on health consequences of PFAS exposure, and practical tips on how to avoid high concentrations of PFAS in prepared food items. We carried out three separate projects based on currently available scientific literature on PFAS (for details of our approach see Research Synthesis.

Our PFAS Research projects

There are currently three projects hosted on this website:

1. An umbrella review

Key questions: What scientific review papers have been published on PFAS in humans, animals and the environment? Which of those research areas still need work? And which ones have been sufficiently researched?

2. Burdens in wildlife

Key questions: What scientific papers have been published on the burdens of PFAS in wildlife? What areas of PFAS in wildlife have been sufficiently researched and which areas need more work?

3. Cooking

Key question: Can you reduce the PFAS concentration in seafood and fish products through cooking?

4. Wild birds and maternal transfer

Key question: Can you quantify the overall maternal PFAS transfer in wild birds and its variability?