SCENARIOS is a 4-year H2020 Research and Innovation project (RIA) involving 19 partners from 10 European countries and Israel. The goal is to close the knowledge gap and achieve breakthrough TRL advances in the toxicology, detection and remediation of probably the most objectionable and widespread class of contaminants -PFAS-, with an unprecedented energetic balance and virtually no external chemical additives. A major effort is underway to develop Integrated Approaches to Testing and Assessment (IATA) of PFAS, including the new generation of congeners, to assist EC and EU countries in decision-making on these substances for environmental safety and human health.

As part of the annual meeting of the H2020-project SCENARIOS, the “First International Workshop on PFAS Transport and PFAS Toxicology” will feature high-level speakers and experts on this area.

PFAS is the acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and represents a group of emerging contaminants known for their persistence and mobility in the environment.

This is a hotly debated topic these days. Chemicals such as PFOA and PFOS are ubiquitous pollutants found in all environmental matrices and in biota where they readily accumulate. The Po River basin, Italy’s largest river, has been subject to constant and continuous contamination with such chemicals. Even though these Legacy PFAS have been restricted since 2014 under the Stockholm Convention, their traces are still present today. The Trissino disaster in the province of Vicenza, Italy, resulted in the contamination of one of the largest underground aquifers in Europe. A large number of citizens of all ages were exposed to PFAS and will therefore forever carry traces of these substances in their blood.

These substances are also of concern to supranational organizations, which are called upon to regulate their use and release. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is due to rule in the next three months whether to ban short carbon chain PFAS, known as alternative PFAS, in firefighting foams. In addition, a public consultation for a full restriction of the entire class of compounds under the European regulation REACH will begin in January 2023 after five EU member states made the proposal.

This workshop is the first in a series of workshops designed within the SCENARIOS project to contribute to a better understanding of the effects of PFASs on human health and the environment so that decision makers can make informed and fair decisions about the regulation of these substances.

Speakers in the workshop will include:

Prof. Nikolas Thomaidis, professor of Analytical Chemistry and Laboratory Director at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, he will open the workshop talking about Non Targeted Analysis and PFAS Screening in Environmental Samples.

Prof. Bruno Hagenbuch, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, USA, a pioneer in the studies of small molecule transport in mammalian cells, will hold a conference on Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptides: a Historical Perspective.

Marco Parolini, professor of Ecology at the University of Milan & Dr. Sara Valsecchi, PFAS expert and group leader at the National Council of Research (IRSA-CNR), Milan, Italy, will hold a joint talk on Exposure and Effects of PFAS in Two Resident Bird Species Breeding Nearby a Fluorochemical Plant.

Webinar. Join it from Zoom at: 

https://uniupo-it.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_3YsaArs6Qq-YaU_eg-LeMw

Information and agenda: 

https://mediacentre.uniupo.it/it/agenda/scenarios-seminar-series

Pfas smart detection - hazard & risk assessment - decontamination

What are PFAS? PFAS are persistent organic pollutants also known as “forever chemicals” because can remain in the environment for long. They can accumulate in living organisms and pose a high risk to human health and environment.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are usually mobile, being transported between multiple environmental compartments such as soil, groundwater and, surface waters. Alternatively, semi-volatile POPs can be atmospherically long-range transported to reach remote areas such as polar regions or high mountains. Chemical substances that have been historically identified as POPs are -for example- chlorinated pesticides, dioxins, and furans.

In the last decade, Per- and polyFluoroAlkyl Substances (PFAS) have become part of the POP’s list as they are environmentally persistent, potentially carcinogens and display a high bioaccumulation rate. Currently, PFAS are detected in multiple environmental matrices (soil, sediment, biota, air dust, food, drinking water) and can be found inside the human body (blood) more frequently than you might expect. Furthermore, the chemical structure of PFAS congeners and their chemo physical features pose a technological challenge to environmental remediation technologies.

SCENARIOS provides a complete set of sustainable solutions to protect human health, the environment, and natural resources from persistent and mobile chemicals, and PFAS. In recent years the presence of toxic pollutants in the environment has increased along with the awareness of their potentially adverse effects on human health. Environmental contaminant exposure significantly contributes to the development of diseases such as cancer, vascular, neurodegenerative illness, inflammatory diseases, allergies, and immune system disorders, which constitute the main health burden in economically developed countries. Exposure to chemical pollutants occurs through the food chain, drinking water, skin contact and the inhalation of airborne particles.

Pollution also causes serious damage to ecosystems and ecosystem services such as water purification, the nutrient cycle, biodiversity, and crop yields accounting for costs potentially exceeding the current EU GDP that will be paid by future generations.

 

Impacts

SCENARIOS aims to devise and demonstrate a comprehensive set of technological solutions to address the detection, (bio)monitoring, long-term toxicity, risk assessment, pollution control and remediation of Per- and polyFluoroAlkyl Substances (PFASs) as a test bed for zero pollution ambition from refractory and mobile organic chemicals.

SCENARIOS’s approach and technologies will be self-sustainable, (near) net-zero energy and will smoothly integrate in the circular economy concept of EU countries and worldwide.

 

Knowledge sharing

A harmonized composition of the project consortium encompassing renewed academic and research centers as well as competitive technological SMEs will ensure SCENARIOS’ value at continental level and beyond. The project will fill the knowledge gap and deliver disruptive remediation TRL advancements for probably the most awkward and widespread toxic class of contaminants -PFAS- with unprecedented energetic balance and the near absence of external chemical additions.

SCENARIOS will promote EU leadership in the sector and provide a significant advance in the research field.

The industrial core of SCENARIOS will enable four demonstrations (case studies) within functioning EU industrial sites and a public health institution, putting forward a set of industrial and societal outcomes where pollutant remediation and health surveillance offer excellent potential for the Green Deal implementation.

Green Deal Support

SCENARIOS aims at contributing to the Green Deal goal stated as “zero pollution ambition for a toxic free environment”. The project will evaluate and develop cutting-edge technologies and strategies for detection, quantification, control, and elimination of PFAS from soil, vadose zone and water by pursuing outcomes within the 4 remediation quadrants: In-situ soil, In-situ water, Exsitu soil and Ex-situ water. Likewise, the project devises a set of pollution control and remediation solutions for PFAS- ontaminated drinking water, agricultural soil and groundwater. All these solutions will conform to the principle of green chemistry, (near) zeroenergy, sustainability and circular economy.

More SCENARIOS

Learn more of who we are and how we will help fighting pollutants