Ongoing Research for PFAS contamination and impacts

We are currently partnering with several ongoing research projects to identify all sources of PFAS and 1,4-dioxane in the Haw River watershed.

Dr. Heather Stapleton of Duke University has concluded her study of PFAS in blood levels of Pittsboro residents. See that study here. One thing to note is that the median levels of PFOS and PFOA were higher than participants in Wilmington. PFHxA levels were also elevated and this compound is consistently high in the Haw below Burlington’s wastewater treatment plant.

We are also partnering with Dr. Jane Hoppin of NC State University to add more participants to a blood and urine analysis study in Pittsboro, which will include participants on town water sourced from the Haw, and well users. This project will begin in January.

Dr. Detlef Knappe of NC State University is also working with us to prioritize sample locations to test for contaminated groundwater near fields where biosolids (sludge) from Burlington’s wastewater treatment plants have been applied. In a similar project, Dr. Mei Sun of UNC Charlotte is working with us to prioritize sample locations where sludge application may be impacting surface waters.

Dr. Scott Belcher of UNC Wilmington is conducting a fish tissue study to understand PFAS exposure through fish consumption in the Haw. This research has two main components: a survey of fishermen to understand consumption rates, and collecting fish tissue samples to quantify PFAS levels.