ESI guest post: PFAS in Minnesota and impacts on east metro drinking water
This is a guest post from Alecia Jendro, a 2022 Environmental Stewardship Institute (ESI) fellow. ESI fellows design and carry out a capstone project during a six-week summer program. Alecia researched the history of 3M's PFAS disposal in the East Metro, the resulting health and environmental impacts, and what's being done about it now. (Note: Opinions expressed in ESI projects are those of the program participant and do not necessarily represent those of FMR.)
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For my final project, I presented my research on how PFAS first entered the ecosystems of Minnesota, the impacts they brought, and what is being done to mitigate those impacts.
Why I chose this project
I chose this project because I've always been interested in water pollution. Water pollution has been an intriguing topic to me because I want to learn more about how ecosystems are able to adapt and if they aren't able to adapt, is it possible with human interference? When I came upon this topic, I thought it would be cool to research it since it was a local problem.
What I hope you take away
PFAS is an emerging contaminant so there hasn't been much research done on them but that doesn't mean they don't bring harm. PFAS has many health impacts centered around infertility, thyroid, liver and kidney disorders, and metabolic dysfunctions. As for the environment, PFAS affects the soil, air and animals in a variety of ways. The government is currently working towards stopping PFAS manufacturing and coming up with cleanup measures for these contaminants.
FMR created the Environmental Stewardship Institute to address the gap between environmental education and a career path in the environmental field. We hold a summer intensive program and a school-year youth advisory council. Learn more about the 2022 ESI summer program, including other final projects.