- Educational Institution
- Local Government
- Native/Tribal Entity
- State Government
- Environmental Clean-up
Reserved for Energy
Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. PFAS are resistant to environmental and metabolic degradation and can build up in the environment and the human body over time. The substances may be found in soil, air, water, and food as well as in materials in homes or workplaces (e.g., fire extinguishing foam, food packaging, biosolids, personal care packaging, etc.). Due to their widespread use, most people in the United States have been exposed to some level of PFAS. Exposure to certain PFAS may lead to detrimental health impacts including reproductive effects, developmental effects, increased risks of cancers, weakening of the immune system, and endocrine system disruption. Agriculture and PFAS chemicals can intersect through soil, air, and water. These resources may be contaminated through dust particles, application of biosolid residues, and leaching.
A large portion of current PFAS research has prioritized data generation and information collection through theoretical science instead of practical application. Identifying, characterizing, and understanding PFAS uptake within agricultural environments will provide vital information related to exposure pathways and will help inform the development of scalable solutions. Research is essential to increase knowledge related to biological uptake in agricultural and rural settings, improve farm viability, and to explore approaches to understand PFAS accumulation in plants and animals. Future research should build upon previous foundations and develop science that has the potential to guide scalable on-farm solutions. Further research is needed to explore the exposure mechanisms of PFAS, develop mitigation strategies, and increase the general knowledge of PFAS and its health risks.
EPA is soliciting novel research that proposes innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to better understand PFAS uptake in plants and animals in agricultural environments. PFAS mitigation and contamination prevention strategies should also be an aspect of the research.
Research Area of Interest
Applicants should address the research area described below:
Develop research that provides new understanding of PFAS bioaccumulation in plants and animals within agricultural operations. Multidisciplinary research is encouraged. The information collected should clearly support the development of agronomic strategies for the management and mitigation of PFAS in the food supply, which will ultimately lead to improved farm viability and protection of public health. Applicants should concisely describe how the proposed research will better inform decisions in agricultural environments. Applications that do not support the development of agronomic (on-farm) management strategies for mitigating PFAS accumulation in the food supply will not be rated as highly under the evaluation process as those that do.
The research should also address at least one of the research area categories listed below. Applicants may select and integrate as many categories as desired. Applications that do not address at least one of the following research area categories may not be rated as highly under the evaluation process as those that do. Applications that address multiple categories will not necessarily be rated more highly than those that address fewer categories.
Research Area Categories:
- PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation through biosolid agricultural use and approaches to ensure biosolid application does not contribute to PFAS soil concentration.
- PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation in livestock (including aquaculture) from feed and water.
- PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation through the utilization of irrigation water, possibly including recycled municipal wastewater or water from effluent dominated waterbodies.
- Potentially substantial PFAS contamination in pre-harvest agricultural operations through previously unidentified or lesser-known sources.
- PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation in whole-food webs, wildlife and game, and culturally sensitive plants as it relates to Tribal agricultural settings and communities.