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.
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.
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.
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.