Authors: Brian Martinez
Faculty Mentor: John Bowden
College: College of Veterinary Medicine
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a variety of manmade chemicals commonly found in everyday consumer products and are an emerging concern regarding their ubiquitous presence in ecosystems around the world. PFAS exposure, which often occurs through contaminated water, has been linked to several adverse health and environmental effects. Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Florida coast in the fall of 2019, provided an opportunity to study the impact of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, on the fate and transport of PFAS in surface water collected from the St. Augustine intercoastal. Water samples from nine sites throughout the intercoastal were collected and analyzed before, during, and after the storm, as well as collections from three other time points over the course of a year. Using a Thermo Vanquish ultra-high pressure liquid chromatograph (UHPLC) system coupled to a Thermo Quantis triple quadrupole mass spectrometer, concentrations of several PFAS compounds were identified and quantified. The data collected will be entered into a monitoring effort/system, iCoast, and combined with data from other locations, will provide information that will be used to identify potential PFAS hotspots in the area and will help develop innovative mitigation practices capable of assessing the impact of future storm events.