Session: Unregulated Contaminants: What's Our Next Step with Microplastics, Pharmaceuticals, PFAS, and More
Ecological consideration of water-loving emerging contaminants: A case study
Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Anna Robuck, Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI, USA
The use of human-created chemicals has emerged as an unprecedented ecological stressor over the last century. The nature of the problem continues to evolve as hydrophilic chemicals like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) replace hydrophobic chemistries like DDTs. PFAS are considered globally ubiquitous, with little information describing exposure-related effects at individual or population scales. Growing evidence suggests environmentally relevant concentrations of PFAS suppress immune function, act as endocrine disruptors, and alter lipid dynamics in vertebrate wildlife. As we continue to learn about PFAS, we must next ask: how do we ecologically reckon with contaminants like PFAS that will never disappear?