Rainer Lohmann named Fulbright Scholar for Arctic Initiative

Dr. Rainer LohmannSTEEP SRP Director, Dr. Rainer Lohmann, was named a Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar in both recognition and support for his continued research on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in communities of the Faroe Islands. His research of PFAS exposure to local populations of Faroese aims to expand on pathways of PFAS transport and fate with a specific focus on indoor air, dust, and drinking water. Although previous research on PFAS bioaccumulation in local Faroese populations identifies their traditional seafood diet as a major contributor of exposure, there is reason to believe volatile PFAS that are more prone to exist on household textiles or in the air may be suspected as additional sources. Lohmann has been working directly with a local Faroese host and has obtained samples from 40 homes in the Faroese community.

This research further emphasizes the environmental footprint of PFAS reflected by the chemical nature of these “forever chemicals” to resist degradation, undergo long-range transport, and interact in marine food webs. To investigate PFAS transport and fate, Lohmann’s research group specializes in testing and validating active and passive sampling tools for the detection of PFAS in water and air.

Lohmann’s active involvement in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative presents another key highlight in his career on PFAS research. He has led the Superfund Research Center at the University of Rhode Island since 2017 and has continued collaboration with scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, and across Europe in an effort to promote policy and regulation for PFAS use. His additional appointments include the Executive Committee of the EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors and membership with the Global PFAS Science Panel.

As part of the Fulbright Program, Lohmann and other Fulbright participants will present their research in Washington, D.C. in April 2023.

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