From June 10-12th, 2019, over 250 community activists, government officials, state legislators, scientists, journalists, lawyers, academics, and students all convened on the Northeastern University campus in Boston for the 2nd National Conference on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances. The purpose of the conference was to foster alliances across sectors (government, academics, NGOs, and community groups) to better support communities impacted by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. Like the 1st National PFAS Conference held in June 2017, this was a unique meeting, bringing together different stakeholders to address an expanding public health and environmental crisis.
The three-day long conference was hosted by Phil Brown, our PROTECT Research Translation Core Leader and Director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute (SSEHRI) at Northeastern University. The conference Organizing Committee was composed of academics and advocates from SSEHRI, PROTECT Superfund Research Program, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Testing for Pease, STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs – the University of Rhode Island’s Superfund Research Program), Michigan State University, Whitman College, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, NIEHS Director Dr. Linda Birnbaum offered the keynote presentation on the growing awareness of the diversity of sources that contribute to one’s PFAS exposure and identified urgent areas of PFAS research.
Conference presenters, panelists, and workshop participants discussed the significant increase in the number of known sites contaminated by PFAS since 2017, as well as the corresponding rise in community organizing, public awareness, scientific research, and regulatory action. The event provided a forum for diverse stakeholders to come together to share and discuss their experiences addressing PFAS contamination across the US and internationally.
If you would like to learn more about the conference, please see the event summary.
Modified from a report written by Grace Poudrier.