PFAS Transport, Exposure, and Effects

Science Center Objects

The team is determining the movement and behavior of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from their sources in the environment, as they move through exposure pathways in ecosystems including watersheds and aquifers, their incorporation into food webs, and molecular to population scale effects on fish and wildlife. These studies are accomplished at a variety of spatial scales from regional to site-based locations and include field sampling and laboratory studies. Laboratory studies are coordinated with field studies to better understand factors influencing PFAS behavior and hazards in the environment. 

Diagram showing per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) movement in the environment.

Mechanisms of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PfAS) fate, transport, and exposure in the environment (Credit: Jacqueline Olsen, USGS. Public domain.).


Pictures spliced together showing collecting bottom sediments

USGS scientists collecting lake-bottom sediments from Ashumet Pond on Cape Cod, Massachusetts for use in laboratory experiments to determine the fate of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at groundwater/surface-water boundaries.  The sediments are collected by pushing a tube into the lake bottom and transferring the sediment and pore water into glass jars (Credit: Denis R. LeBlanc, USGS. Public domain.).