Objectives :

Develop criteria and methods for sampling and testing PFAS in e-waste and e-waste components.
1. Conduct sampling and analyses for individual PFAS and categories of PFAS.
2. Conduct experiments to evaluate leachability of PFAS from different e-waste components.
3. Explore potential pathways as to how e-waste contributes to the PFAS releases and cumulative burden of pollution.
4. Develop appropriate e-waste management strategies to reduce PFAS releases from e-waste.

Expected Technical Results :

Practices for using waste materials are being promoted at national and international scales with increasing interest and urgency of sustainable practices. However, there is an increasing concern about the levels of PFAS in the environment and its transport and accumulation. This research will provide in-depth evaluation of the levels of PFAS in e-waste and provide a benchmark for PFAS exposure during e-waste handling and separation, and disposal practices. Potential PFAS exposure mechanisms will be analyzed during e-waste handling and disposal in view of the data ana analyses from this research. 

Research activities will focus on addressing the following questions:

  • What types of PFAS are in e-waste?
  • What types of PFAS can leach from e-waste components deposited in landfills?
  • How can we sample e-waste for PFAS analyses?
  • Should we be concerned about PFAS in e-waste?
  • Should we be concerned about PFAS in e-waste deposited at landfills?
  • Do PFAS leach from e-waste over time? And which PFAS in e-waste chemically transform over time and what do they transform to?
  • Can PFAS in e-waste transfer to air, groundwater, surface waters (i.e., retention ponds)?
  • What environmental characteristics (e.g., pH, temperature) are potentially important parameters to include in fate and transport analyses of PFAS originating from e-waste?
  • Which PFAS types should be included in a database for e-waste management?