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  • Title: Poly- and Perfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) Toxicity Study
  • Principal Investigators: Natalia Soares Quinete
  • Funding Source: Various Funders

There is a growing public concern on Poly- and PerfluorinatedAlkyl Substances (PFAS) worldwide due to their ubiquitous presence in the environment (e.ggroundwater, drinking water, soil, biota, food, etc.) and their associated toxicity and endocrine disruptor properties. In Miami, a recent study conducted by EWG has brought to media attention the presence of these contaminants in drinking water in some locations at levels considered relatively high. 

In Florida, especially South Florida, insufficient information is available on the occurrence, sources, fate, distribution and transport of PFAS, their precursors and transformation products in the environment. This means that the implications of their presence for potential human exposure is largely unknown.

To address this issue, we are working on the development of an analytical method able to more reliably detect these toxic contaminants at very low part per trillion levels. In addition, we are developing a non-targeted approach to evaluate potential metabolites and transformation products in the environment. Ultimately, we aim to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the spatial and seasonal trends of multiple PFASs in surface and drinking water from different water bodies in South Florida. These areas will include places where water quality issues have been documented with impact from man-made wastewater intrusion, such as the Miami River and more “pristine” areas like the Everglades and Biscayne National Park. We also investigate potential PFAS sources and the introduction and transport to coastal and preserved areas.

Participating Students

  • Autumn Henderson, PhD Student
  • Steven Landeweer, PhD Student
  • Kathleen Lugo, Lab Tech
  • Brian Ng, PhD Student


  • 2021

    Ng, B., Quinete, N., Maldonado, S., Lugo, K., Purrinos, J., Briceño, H., & Gardinali, P. (2021). Understanding the occurrence and distribution of emerging pollutants and endocrine disruptors in sensitive coastal South Florida Ecosystems. Science of The Total Environment, 757, 143720. 

    Hauser-Davis, R. A., Bordon, I. C., Kannan, K., Moreira, I., & Quinete, N. (2021). Perfluoroalkyl substances associations with morphometric health indices in three fish species from differentially contaminated water bodies in Southeastern Brazil. Environmental Technology & Innovation, 21, 101198. 

  • 2020

    Quinete, N., Hauser-Davis, R. A., Lemos, L. S., Moura, J. F., Siciliano, S., & Gardinali, P. R. (2020). Occurrence and tissue distribution of organochlorinated compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) from the southeastern coast of Brazil. Science of The Total Environment, 749, 141473. 

    Idda, T., Bonas, C., Hoffmann, J., Bertram, J., Quinete, N., Schettgen, T., Fietkau, K., Esser, A., Stope, M. B., Leijs, M. M., Baron, J. M., Kraus, T., Voigt, A., & Ziegler, P. (2020). Metabolic activation and toxicological evaluation of polychlorinated biphenyls in Drosophila melanogaster. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 21587. 

    Quinete, N., & Hauser-Davis, R. A. (2020). Drinking water pollutants may affect the immune system: concerns regarding COVID-19 health effects. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28(1), 1235–1246. 

    Abdullah, A. M., Quinete, N. S., Gardinali, P., & O’Shea, K. (2020). Investigation of Ultrasonically Induced Degradation of Tris(2-chloroethyl) Phosphate in Water. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 146(10), 04020117. 

    Henderson, A., Ng, B., Landeweer, S., Quinete, N., & Gardinali, P. (2020). Assessment of Sucralose, Caffeine and Acetaminophen as Anthropogenic Tracers in Aquatic Systems Across Florida. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 105(3), 351–357. 

    Cui, D., Li, X., & Quinete, N. (2020). Occurrence, fate, sources and toxicity of PFAS: What we know so far in Florida and major gaps. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 130, 115976.