PFAS surrogate study nears completion



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Researchers to discuss in next WQRF webinar July 23

LISLE, Ill. – Research into surrogate compound(s) that can be used as standards to evaluate the effectiveness of activated carbon and ion exchange technologies in removing a wide range of PFAS from drinking water has been funded by the Water Quality Research Foundation. University of British Columbia researchers will discuss their work in a July 23 webinar.

The results will inform better testing protocols for water filtration systems as public water suppliers work to meet EPA regulations and consumers become more aware of these contaminants in drinking water supplies. 

PFAS, or ‘forever chemicals’ are man-made chemical compounds that persist in the environment for long periods of time.  For decades, PFAS chemicals have been used in industry and consumer products, from non-stick cookware to stain-resistant furniture.  Consequently, PFAS have been detected in the environment and ultimately in water supplies, with higher levels observed in areas affected by industrial activities.  

While drinking water continues to be a source for exposure to PFAS and municipal water readies to deal with the new drinking water regulation, there is growing interest in point-of-use and point-of-entry technologies as a means of remediating PFAS both in small water systems and for individual homeowners.

In addition to identifying surrogate compounds to represent both regulated and unregulated PFAS compounds that are present in water, this research has helped to underscore the crucial role of PFAS characteristics, such as chain length and functional group, in determining adsorption properties.

Dr. Madjid Mohseni and Dr. Ehsan Banayan Esfahani both have prior experience in PFAS research. Professor Mohseni is Scientific Director of Community Circle, a non-profit organization focusing on achieving socio-economically and technologically sustainable outcomes in water health for indigenous and rural communities. Esfahani, a post-doctoral fellow, completed his Ph.D. on novel treatment technologies for PFAS and is involved in several PFAS treatment projects based on adsorption and destruction techniques, as well as conducting field studies at PFAS-contaminated sites.

The surrogate study is not a new research concept for WQRF; a 1998 study identified chloroform as a surrogate for 53 regulated organic chemicals which helped to lay the groundwork in NSF/ANSI standards for carbon filter manufacturers to test removal effectiveness.

The researchers will discuss the PFAS surrogate project in a free “WQRF Summer School” webinar at noon ET (11 a.m. CT) Tuesday, July 23. For more information or to register, visit

Since 1952, the Water Quality Research Foundation (WQRF) has served as an independent, scientific water quality research organization with an aim to improve water quality through relevant academic research​, advancing the knowledge and science of high-quality, sustainable water.  Since its inception, WQRF has funded numerous research studies that have generated essential information on water quality ​for industry, policymakers, regulators, and the public.  Find out more:
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