Skip Navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you’re on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser.

This website may not display properly with Internet Explorer. For the best experience, please use a more recent browser such as the latest versions of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and/or Mozilla Firefox. Thank you.

Your Environment. Your Health.

Highlighted Research

hand holding a flask with test tubes in the background
PFAS Research Shared at Federal Workshop Hosted by NIEHS

Scientists from NIEHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) presented their latest research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in the second in a series of virtual Federal Information Exchanges Aug. 28.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
Food cooking in a non-stick pan
Virtual Workshop Explores Newest PFAS Research

Three NIEHS grantees presented their latest research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at a July 31 Federal Information Exchange. The online session — attended by more than 260 researchers with federal funding, federal employees, and state health representatives — was the first in a series of virtual workshops.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
PFAS chemical structure
PFAS Should Be Managed As a Single Class of Chemicals, Experts Say

Treating the thousands of potentially toxic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as a single class could reduce health risks and contamination, and improve clean-up efforts, according to a June 30 commentary by an international group of experts.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
Firemen extinguish a fire with foam within the smoke
Mauge-Lewis Researches Replacement PFAS in Firefighting Foams

Chemical mixtures used in firefighting were the focus of a March 30 webinar sponsored by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC) graduate toxicology and environmental medicine program.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
striped bass
High Levels of PFAS in Cape Fear River Striped Bass

NIEHS grantees found elevated levels of 11 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the blood of Cape Fear River striped bass. The higher levels were associated with markers of altered immune and liver functions in the fish.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
water pouring into a glass of water
GenX Affects Function of Proteins That Protect the Brain

NIEHS researchers have found that in rats, exposure to low levels of the chemical GenX may affect the function of certain protective proteins at the blood-brain barrier. This discovery is important because it suggests that GenX — part of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemical family — can alter how the body safeguards sensitive organs against exposures.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
hand holding a glass of water as it fills from a faucet
NTP-led Team Finds Adverse Effects of PFOA and GenX in Mice

In an NIEHS-funded study focusing on the placenta, scientists from the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Duke University collaborated to compare the impact of gestational exposure to environmental contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid, known as GenX, on experimental mice.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
Liping Feng, M.D.
Replacement Chemicals May Put Pregnancies at Risk

Exposure to so-called forever chemicals may increase a woman’s risk of pregnancy complications. New research links exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are industrial chemicals found throughout the environment, with an increased risk of a pregnancy complication called preeclampsia.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
scientist holds and examines samples
PFOA Evaluated For Cancer Links by NTP Expert Panel

Experts endorsed findings from studies by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) on two chemicals found in everyday items and their links to cancer in rodents. One study focused on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a substance found in products such as nonstick cookware and stain- and water-resistant fabrics. The other was about oxybenzone, an ultraviolet filter found in sunscreen lotion.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
close up of test tube with clear liquid being held by hand with blue gloves
North Carolina Scientists, Policymakers Take on PFAS

Toxicologists, policy analysts, industry and community representatives, and North Carolina state legislators met Oct. 23-24 in Durham for a summit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Those man-made chemicals exist in many products, such as nonstick cookware and firefighting foam.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
Thomas Burke, Ph.D.
PFAS Workshop Kicks off National Academies Initiative

Experts and concerned citizens gathered Sept. 26-27 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the class of chemicals known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoralkyl substances. The workshop was the first organized by the Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI), an ambitious effort by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
parent and child preparing vegetables at home
People Who Eat More Meals at Home Have Lower Levels of Harmful PFAS Chemicals in Their Bodies

Preparing meals at home can reduce your exposure to harmful PFAS chemicals that are commonly found in take-out and fast food packaging, according to a new study by NIEHS-funded researchers at Silent Spring Institute.

  • Science Highlights
  • Silent Spring Institute
Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., NIEHS and NTP Director, giving her keynote address
PFAS Conference Highlights Research Obstacles, Public Health Challenges

A widespread group of man-made chemicals — some of which can cause harmful effects in humans and the environment — was the focus of a scientific conference held in Durham, North Carolina, August 12–15. The North American division of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry SETAC) hosted the meeting, titled “Environmental Risk Assessment of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).”

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
boy drinking a cup of water
New Research Sheds Light on Metabolic Changes Associated with PFAS Exposure

A new study done by NIEHS-funded researchers at Brown University, led by Joseph Braun, finds exposure to PFAS is assoicated with alterations in metabolic pathways related to metabolism in a cohort of children in the Cinncinnati area.

  • Science Highlights
various food items like pizza, onion rings, french fries, burger, ketchup, soda
Meeker Discusses PFAS in Food on NPR

John Meeker, Sc.D., talks about food as a source of exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on Issues of the Environment, a weekly radio segment on Eastern Michigan’s National Public Radio (NPR) station. Meeker is deputy director of the Core Center at the University of Michigan (UM) and a project leader at the UM Children's Environmental Health Center.

  • News & Media
  • WEMU, NPR Affiliate
Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
PFAS Senate Hearing, Birnbaum’s Expert scientific Testimony

Congressional interest in the class of chemicals known as PFAS, or per- and polyfluoralkyl substances, continued last month with a March 28 hearing of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Among the federal leaders called to testify was NIEHS and National Toxicology Program (NTP) Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., who provided a scientific perspective on the chemicals.

  • Science Highlights
  • NIEHS Environmental Factor
to Top