A review of the applications, environmental release, and remediation technologies of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances

Jay N. Meegoda, Jitendra A. Kewalramani, Brian Li, Richard W. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are pollutants that have demonstrated a high level of environmental persistence and are very difficult to remediate. As the body of literature on their environmental effects has increased, so has regulatory and research scrutiny. The widespread usage of PFAS in industrial applications and consumer products, complicated by their environmental release, mobility, fate, and transport, have resulted in multiple exposure routes for humans. Furthermore, low screening levels and stringent regulatory standards that vary by state introduce considerable uncertainty and potential costs in the environmental management of PFAS. The recalcitrant nature of PFAS render their removal difficult, but existing and emerging technologies can be leveraged to destroy or sequester PFAS in a variety of environmental matrices. Additionally, new research on PFAS remediation technologies has emerged to address the efficiency, costs, and other shortcomings of existing remediation methods. Further research on the impact of field parameters such as secondary water quality effects, the presence of co-contaminants and emerging PFAS, reaction mechanisms, defluorination yields, and the decomposition products of treatment technologies is needed to fully evaluate these emerging technologies, and industry attention should focus on treatment train approaches to improve efficiency and reduce the cost of treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8117
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Organic pollutants
  • PFAS
  • Perfluorinated chemicals
  • Persistent pollutants
  • Remediation


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