University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

To examine concentration, fate and behavior of emerging water-soluble organic compounds in indoor air and support the 2023 CIE capstone event

  • Amount $500,000
  • City Chapel Hill, NC
  • Investigator Barbara Turpin
  • Year 2020
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Chemistry of Indoor Environments

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are water-soluble organic (WSO) chemicals used industrial and consumer products, particularly those designed to be grease-resistant.  This includes non-stick cookware, stain resistant fabrics, indoor-outdoor carpeting, and longlasting cosmetics. However, several studies have show that human exposure to PSAS, may lead to a range of adverse health outcomes. Airborne exposure has not been, up to know, thought to be a primary vector for PFAS exposure, but in 2008, a study of PFAS by University of North Carolina chemist Barbara Turpin documented PFAS concentrations in both indoor and outdoor air, with preliminary results showing compounds existing in both environments, though with higher concentrations indoors. Funds from this grant support the continuation and extension of Turpin’s work, as she attempts to more rigoursly quantify the concentration, fate, and behavior of WSO compounds in indoor air with a focus on these substances.  Turpin’s workplan will pay special attention to the role surfaces play in determining PFAS concentration, including how surface composition and other factors, like its age or dampness, affect the absorption of airborn PFAS.  Research findings will be shared through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at national and international conferences, and three graduate students will be trained.

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