This project aims to develop an improved understanding of the marine ecotoxicity of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) associated with aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) use. This will be done through a series of laboratory toxicity and bioaccumulation experiments with 10 target PFAS, aiming to provide the following critical data to decision-makers and ecological risk assessors evaluating the risks of PFAS exposure at marine sites:
The data gaps filled by the project will enable AFFF-impacted marine sites to move forward with ecological risk assessments (ERAs) within the site investigation process using sound, scientifically supported information.
This project features a comprehensive five-task design based on 163 spiked-PFAS toxicity and bioaccumulation bioassays in water and sediment and more than 1,800 PFAS analyses. The project aims to fill current critical data gaps that impede effective ERAs at marine sites impacted with AFFF by producing the following quantitative data deliverables:
The primary expected benefit of this project is to provide risk assessment experts with quantitative information to enable more accurate PFAS ERAs for aquatic life and aquatic-dependent wildlife at AFFF-impacted marine sites. Currently, these critical data gaps are likely to result in excessive and costly remediation approaches based on unnecessarily conservative assumptions of PFAS risks at AFFF-impacted marine sites. The expected data produced by this project – benchmarks for PFAS in sediment and water, a quantitative algorithm for evaluating mixture risks to aquatic life, and uptake factors for predicting concentrations in wildlife diet items – will be directly applicable for site-specific ERAs and associated decision-making. Additionally, this work will address key concerns regarding the need for multigenerational aquatic toxicity evaluation, a key uncertainty related to the stakeholder acceptance of toxicity benchmarks for aquatic life. (Anticipated Project Completion – 2024)