Advancing the state of the science in risk assessment, Integral scientists will present and chair sessions on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the Association for Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS) Foundation’s International Conference on Soils, Sediments, Water, and Energy. Held virtually on October 19–23, 2020, the conference facilitates the exchange of information on technological advances and new scientific achievements.
On October 19, Integral Vice President Russell Keenan, Ph.D., will chair the session “PFAS Risk Assessment: Challenges and Perspectives,” and present on a new paradigm for determining ecological risk. Vice President Judi Durda will present “PFAS and Ecological Risk Assessment—Time for a Paradigm Shift,” along with Dr. Keenan and Integral Principal Damian Preziosi. During this session, she will discuss an empirical approach to deriving reliable risk estimates across the range of PFAS in diverse ecological systems.
Monday, October 19, 2020
PFAS Risk Assessment: Challenges and Perspectives
Session Chair: Russell Keenan, Ph.D.
Session Information: Session 03, 1:30–5:00 p.m.
PFAS and Ecological Risk Assessment—Time for a Paradigm Shift?
Presenter: Judi Durda
Co-presenters: Damian Preziosi, Russell Keenan
Presentation Information: Platform Room 4, 4:30–5:30 p.m.
The current paradigm for ecological risk assessment utilizes estimates of exposure and toxicity to predict outcome. Assessments are typically conducted on a chemical-by-chemical basis and utilize simplifying assumptions to extrapolate effects on ecological populations and communities. Though significant uncertainties exist, this traditional paradigm has become status quo in many management models because information is available or readily obtainable, uncertainties are accepted and/or factored into the decision, and results are achievable in a reasonable timeframe. PFAS challenge the utility of this traditional paradigm. Hundreds of PFAS may be present at a site, and potential toxicological interactions and behavior in environmental, biological, and ecological systems are poorly characterized, even for the most well studied PFAS. Though ongoing PFAS research continues to generate the types of data needed to support the traditional approach, it is doubtful that the necessary information for deriving reliable risk estimates across the range of PFAS in diverse ecological systems will be generated in the next several decades. Yet we need data now to support decisions on PFAS management. We propose a different paradigm for ecological risk assessment of PFAS in contaminated environments. Rather than predictive, we propose an empirical approach. We utilize concepts from USEPA’s Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System and ecological epidemiology, coupled with parts of the traditional ecological risk assessment paradigm to develop a framework for PFAS assessment and management. We discuss the practicality, utility, and plasticity of this approach to support comprehensive ecosystem management across a broad array of stressors.
Integral staff are on the forefront of technical and regulatory developments for PFAS and other contaminants of emerging concern, including 1,2,3-trichloropropane and 1,4-dioxane. We provide expertise in multimedia environmental modeling, field sampling programs, toxicology evaluations and risk assessment, mitigation measure development, treatment system design and engineering, litigation support, and stakeholder communication.
Integral is an AEHS 2020 Partner and Dr. Keenan serves on the Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on Integral’s involvement with AEHS, contact Dr. Keenan at email@example.com.