PFAS and Groundwater: Real and Perceived Risk

Presented on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large class of man-made chemicals that are an emerging worldwide priority in environmental and human health because some are environmentally persistent, bioaccumulative, and pose human health risks. This one-hour workshop is designed to introduce you to PFAS as a groundwater contaminant and help you separate the real risk from the ubiquitous misperceptions. The workshop will summarize: 

  • Perfluoroalkyl vs. polyfluoroalkyl substances;
  • Uniqueness of the carbon-fluorine bond;
  • Non-polymers vs. polymers;
  • Uses, sources;
  • Historical vs. modern;
  • Branched vs. linear;
  • Risk;
  • Public perception, risk communication;
  • Sampling;
  • Analytical methods; and
  • Remediation.

Karen Kinsella, Ph.D.
GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc, Coventry, CT
Karen Kinsella is a biogeochemist at GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She has more than 40 years’ experience in the agricultural, analytical, construction, energy, environmental, and radionuclide sectors. Karen earned a Ph.D. in soil chemistry and microbiology from the University of Connecticut in 2009 and an M.S. in chemistry from Central Connecticut State University in 1996. She has taught chemistry and environmental science at the secondary school level. Her consulting practice focuses on applying biochemical and geochemical processes for active remediation and natural attenuation of soil and groundwater contaminants.

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