map of PFAS contamination sites

Lab Seminar - Health Effects from Exposure to Forever Chemicals in Drinking Water

Laura Alcocer Quinones presented plans for a study estimating the health effects of exposure to PFAS (per and polyalyfluoral substances) in drinking water. Exposure to PFAS is associated with kidney disease and complications during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia. However, little is known about the precise relationships between health outcomes and exposure to PFAS through drinking water. Identifying these relationships is critical to accurately estimate the social costs of water pollution and for the design of effective environmental regulations to reduce exposure. Laura plans to use variation in the rate of exposure to PFAS across space and over time to estimate the population-level health effects of PFAS pollution. However, the ability of PFAS to accumulate in the environment and in the body over time creates a challenge because there can be significant time delays between when chemicals are emitted into the environment, exposure, and health outcomes. Although it presents a challenge, the causal effect of PFAS exposure on health can still likely be estimated using econometric tools.  

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