As climate change worsens droughts and jeopardizes water imports, California has been forced to rethink water sustainability.
By Boki Muigai
USC Research and Innovation (R&I) has selected researchers from the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences of Keck School of Medicine and the Viterbi School of Engineering of USC for the President’s Sustainability Initiative Award. The nominated study led by Lida Chatzi, MD, PhD, and Max Aung, PhD, received $433,310 dedicated towards “PFAS ACT: Addressing the PFAS Drinking Water Crisis in Southern California.” The transdisciplinary project brings together experts from across USC to examine the health effects of pollutants such as PFAS on human health.
As climate change worsens droughts and jeopardizes water imports, California has been forced to rethink water sustainability. This is coupled with an emerging water quality crisis fueled by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, which has been proposed as a Superfund hazardous substance. These ‘forever chemicals’ are a class of synthetic fluorinated persistent organic chemicals that have been used in industrial applications and consumer products for more than 60 years. However, recent research reveals they pose a great risk to human health including chronic liver disease.
“It is critical that we assess sources of PFAS exposure in environmental justice communities and resulting health risks to better inform equitable solutions to protect these communities,” asserts Aung.