UT Professors Investigate Solutions for “Forever Chemicals”

Dr. Frank Löffler (Director of CEB, Governor’s Chair professor in microbiology), Dr. Shawn Campagna (Chemistry Department professor) and their respective teams have made a discovery that could lead to new capabilities for managing environmental contamination.

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Commercially used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were developed in the 1940’s and made their way into a variety of common household products. Today, PFAS are used for plastic and rubber manufacturing and in food wrappers, umbrellas, firefighting foam and more.

PFAS have also been called “forever chemicals” due to their resistance to breaking down in both the environment and the human body. PFAS have been discovered lingering in rivers, Arctic sea ice, human breast milk and in the blood of 97% of Americans. Most troublesome is their potential impact on human health and PFAS have been linked to metabolic disruption, obesity, diabetes, immune suppression, and cancer.