Clarkson University’s Centre for Air and Aquatic Resources Engineering and Sciences (CAARES) Lab has been qualified to perform per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) analysis. It has been accredited through the Department of Defence Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Programme (DoD ELAP). PFAS are man-made chemicals that do not break down.

DoD ELAP is designed to accredit laboratories that wish to test for Department of Defence environmental restoration programmes. PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, represent a diverse group of man-made chemical compounds that are persistent, meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time. According to the EPA, there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects. PFAS compounds have been used in hundreds of industrial applications and consumer products including carpeting, apparel, upholstery, food paper wrappings, fire-fighting foams, and metal plating.

“Not only does this validate the good work that CAARES does, but it shows that Clarkson supports the highest quality analytical research activity,” said Clarkson president Tony Collins.

The focus of CAARES is to provide a better and more complete scientific basis for air and water quality management. It strives to understand the sources, transport and chemistry that give rise to indoor and outdoor exposure to air pollutants, including noise, their potential health and welfare effects, and ways in which these effects can be reduced or eliminated.

Clarkson University has numerous research grants with the EPA and DoD investigating ways to destroy PFAS in contaminated water and soil. These promising technologies have been featured in several international publications, are undergoing field tests, and have spun-off two start-up companies, including Professor Michelle Crimi’s RemWell and Professor Selma Mededovic and Professor Thomas Holsen’s DMAX Plasma.

“I am fortunate to be working with talented researchers and state-of-the-art equipment in the CAARES laboratory. There are only a limited number of accredited labs in the country, and we are the only accredited university lab. This distinction will give us a significant advantage as we continue to pursue research in this area,” Holsen, co-director of CAARES said.

CAARES has analytical facilities that house a number of major instruments, as well as laboratory space specifically designed to support research.