The PFAS Project Lab has developed a database of United States policy and governance actions related to PFAS (per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are a class of thousands of chemicals that are widely used in consumer products, industrial applications, manufacturing processes, and certain firefighting foams. Researchers with the PFAS Project Lab spent two years gathering and organizing information about PFAS governance activities from all fifty states, Congress, and multiple federal agencies. The database contains over 900 actions dating back to 1999. Now this information is publicly available in a searchable online database at governance.pfasproject.com.
Compiling all types of PFAS governance actions provides a more accurate and transparent view of PFAS action, especially since government involvement and authority varies greatly between states. The website is easy to use, with a search bar where users can enter terms of interest, and multiple filters that allow users to query governance actions by type, date, outcome, and topic.
Each action in the database contains a detailed summary and list of key players, as well as designations for action type, topics covered, date of introduction, and legislative outcome. Users can also download their search results for further analysis and access primary and secondary source links for each action.
The website will be useful and accessible for anyone interested in PFAS governance:
- Journalists can quickly identify PFAS governance of interest to their work, searching by topic, agency, state/location, or key individuals involved.
- State legislators can use the website for inspiration from other states while developing new PFAS legislation.
- Government agency staff can explore the website for ideas on making regulations, implementing clean-up and remediation programs, and learning about the timeline of events around the country.
- Residents and activists can learn more about recent actions to hold states and the federal government accountable in taking action on PFAS.
- Researchers can access the data freely to answer questions from many scientific disciplines.
The PFAS Project Lab will continue to add new actions to the database, with the website being updated regularly to reflect the most up-to-date PFAS policy and governance actions. Website users can also suggest corrections and new actions for the team to investigate via a Google Form (in the “About this tool” tab).
The PFAS Governance Tracker is part of the PFAS Project Lab, which is co-directed by Dr, Phil Brown at Northeastern University and Dr, Alissa Cordner at Whitman College. The PFAS Project Lab studies the social, scientific, and political factors related to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). We produce rigorous, accessible research about the PFAS contamination crisis through collaborations with impacted communities, leading interdisciplinary researchers, and nonprofits. We share our PFAS research with impacted communities and a broad range of other stakeholders. https://pfasproject.com/
The website was built by Associate Professor and Microsoft Chair of Computer Science Dr, Janet Davis and six undergraduate students from many academic backgrounds: Oliver Baltzer (Computer Science), Arianna Castellanos Calderon (Environmental Science-Biology), Eliza Daigle (Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology), Molly Halverson (Computer Science), Anthony Maniko (Computer Science), and Gabe Wasserman (Sociology-Environmental Studies). Current Northeastern University research assistant Alana Caluwe (Public Health) also made significant recent contributions to the governance database. Former research assistants who contributed substantially to the database include Kira Mok, Derrick Salvatore, Esme Getto, Mya Heard, Daniel Bloor, Berty Lakjohn, Jessica Rodriguez, and Kylin Brown.