The PFAS Scientific Roundtable
The PFAS Science Roundtable sponsored by UMCES in coordination with MDE was held on October 5, 2020 with over 20 scientists and PFAS experts from academia (e.g., UMBC, Townson, UMCES, Colorado School of Mines, Oregon University), federal agencies (EPA, USGS, NOAA, CDC, and NIST) and the states of PA and DE.
The purpose of the Roundtable was to:
● Discuss the state of the science around PFAS (e.g., toxicity, exposure, fate and transport of PFAS in the environment, analytical methods and treatment technologies);
● Highlight the actions MDE has taken and is taking to better understand, communicate and manage PFAS risks; and,
● Obtain scientific input on PFAS priorities in Maryland moving forward.
Key messages from the convened scientists included:
- The importance of first focusing on understanding and characterizing the occurrence of PFAS throughout the State of Maryland.
- There are still many unanswered questions of PFAS science, but it is an active area of research largely funded by federal agencies (e.g., the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and, the Centers for Disease Control) with many emerging studies being published.
- When studying or managing PFAS in the environment - during drinking water treatment, or at cleanup sites - a number of variables must be accounted for to optimize efforts.
- Experts suggested MDE consider several priorities during their next wave of PFAS- investigative work.
- Experts also suggested MDE investigate some uniquely Maryland issues which may not be covered by science done elsewhere.
- MDE should explore the occurrence of PFAS in groundwater as it is used as the primary drinking water source in some areas of the State – such as on the Eastern Shore.
MDE and UMCES looks forward to working collaboratively with multiple partners to garner a better understanding of PFAS sources and risks as well as the remediation of impacted areas with the goal of reducing the short- and long-term risks to Maryland’s citizens. These studies will need to be carefully designed and will require funding, enhanced expertise, and strategic partnerships within and beyond the State to complete.
For More Information on PFAS in Maryland click HERE.