Geoklock attends international event on PFAS emerging contaminants

Profissionais da Geoklock estiveram presentes no Environmental Risk Assessment of PFAS, evento organizado pela SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry), que aconteceu em Durham, na Carolina do Norte (EUA) de 12 a 15 de agosto, no qual especialistas discutiram a avaliação de riscos à saúde humana e ao meio ambiente devido à exposição ambiental a um contaminante emergente - os PFAS (per- e polifluoralquil).

Imagem exibindo faixa de areia e rio

Geoklock professionals attended the Environmental Risk Assessment of PFAS, a focused topic meeting organized by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). The meeting took place in Durham, North Carolina, between August 12th and 15th. Experts discussed human health effects and environmental risks associated with the exposure to per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS are a large group of over 3000 chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries around the globe, and are considered to be emerging contaminants. PFAS are persistent in the environment and have been detected and measured in ground water used for public supply at various locations worldwide.

Andréia Yoshinari, a senior expert at Geoklock, said the event brought together more than 200 professionals from several countries, including the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands. “The meeting was focused on risk assessment, with a very scientific approach. And what is interesting is that each country is dealing with this issue differently. In the US, for instance, there are divergences between the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and state regulators,” Yoshinari explained.

Equipe Geoklock ao lado de um quadro contendo informações sobre o evento

Filipe Gimenes, an environmental engineer at Geoklock, explained that PFAS are compounds containing C-F bonds, found in water-, oil- and grease-repellent products. PFAS are used in food paper packaging, firefighting foams, surfactants (detergents), surface treatment materials and pesticides. Gimenes said: “This is a new concern in Brazil, but we must get ready to address it. Laboratories must also prepare their structures for this type of analysis.”

Gimenes believes the meeting promoted by SETAC provided very relevant technical information. “This has been considered an issue in the US for a while now, and Geoklock will be ready to support the development of this theme in Brazil,” he stated.

Equipe Geoklock durante o evento

Yoshinari’s opinion goes along the same lines as Gimenes’: “It was crucial for us to understand that the USEPA has been requiring industrial site investigations focused on PFAS, and demanding more sophisticated analyses when the potential for emerging contaminants is detected.”

PFAS are still unregulated in Brazil, and Yoshinari believes that this will be a major challenge in the country, particularly within public health regulators. From a technical standpoint, she considers that the establishment of quality standards for emerging contaminants by regulating agencies will also pose a challenge.

Gimenes understood the PFAS meeting not only provided important technical knowledge, but also a better understanding of political and cultural issues associated with this subject in several contries. Yoshinari also mentioned the event was attended by public institutions from different countries – including USEPA, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Environment and Climate Change of Canada, Umwelt Bundesamt, as well as many universities –, which enabled very interesting exchanges. “There were different points of view, but also a proposal to converge and discussions to reach tangible solutions,” she said.

By sending its professionals to this event, Geoklock continues expanding its knowledge and starts preparing to work with PFAS in Brazil. Geoklock plans to be ready to meet the market’s future demands.