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PFAS Impact on the Planet and Solutions for the Packaging Industry: Keynote Speakers

PFAS Impact on the Planet and Solutions for the Packaging Industry: Keynote Speakers

8:30 – 9:00amIntroduction and Opening to Symposium Sessions on Critical Knowledge Gaps for PFAS in PackagingKeith Vorst, PhD
Director, Polymer and Food Protection Consortium, Iowa State University
Dr. Keith Vorst

Keith Vorst, PhD

Dr. Keith Vorst serves as the Director of the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium and Associate Professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. Dr. Vorst’s research areas include the technical development, and safety of food packaging projects and food safety including the human science interaction of food and packaging materials at Iowa State University. Dr. Vorst worked in industry for three major packaging companies and served as a consultant for a major automotive manufacturer prior to joining academia in his current position at Iowa State University. Dr. Vorst has over 60 publications and 16 published or pending patents for plastic characterization, contamination monitoring, carbon nanotubes, medical device manufacturing, microbial testing methods, and polymer design. Dr. Vorst has done extensive work in method and sample preparation development for PFAS analysis in packaging materials. Dr. Vorst has published in the American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM), Journal of Testing and Evaluation, Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Journal of Polymer Testing, Journal of Food Protection, Food and Analytical Methods, and Journal of Plastic Film and Sheeting, and has also served as a reviewer for the Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Journal of Food Protection, Food Control, and Journal of Testing and Evaluation.

9:00 – 9:45amState and Federal Regulation of PFAS in Food PackagingTom Lee & Brandon Neuschafer
Bryan, Cave, Leighton and Paisner LLP
Tom Lee
Brandon Neuschafer

Tom Lee & Brandon Neuschafer

Tom Lee and Brandon Neuschafer, both partners in the environmental group of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, LLP, will provide an overview of state and federal laws and regulations related to the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in food packaging. At the state level there has been a significant amount of legislative activity but a lack of consistency in the structure and scope of the laws so the presentation will outline the key features of the relevant laws and their implementation dates. We will also discuss the actions that FDA has taken to investigate and regulate the use of PFAS in food packaging.

9:45 – 10:30amPFAS in packaging, cosmetics, and consumer productsGraham Peaslee, PhD
Faculty Researcher and Professor
University of Notre Dame

10:45 – 11:30amPFAS in Food and Food PackagingSharon Koh-Fallet, PhD
Branch Chief, Regulatory Review Branch
FDA Division of Food Contact Notifications
Sharon Koh-Fallet

Sharon Koh-Fallet, PhD

11:30 – 12:15amPFAS in Surface Water in the Great Lakes RegionLaura Hubbard
Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Science Center
Laura Hubbard

Laura Hubbard

Laura Hubbard is a Research Hydrologist at the USGS Upper Midwest Water Science Center located in Madison, WI. Laura earned a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Wisconsin and an M.S. in Earth Sciences (Hydrology) from Indiana University. As a co-lead of the Food Resources Integrated Science Team within the Ecosystems Mission Area, she has been involved in national studies investigating agricultural and urban contaminants in groundwater and surface water, including viruses and pathogens, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, hormones, disinfection by-products, and pharmaceuticals.

ABSTRACT: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in food processing wastewater discharge: impacts to the receiving stream food web Process wastewaters from food, beverage, and feedstock facilities, although regulated, are an under-investigated environmental contaminant source. In 2018, food process wastewaters (FPWW) from 23 facilities in 17 U.S. states were sampled and demonstrated to contain a plethora of contaminants, including one soybean oilseed processing facility with 15 per/polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) detected and a ΣPFAS concentration of 185 µg L-1 (6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate concentration of 143 µg L-1). To assess PFAS impacts and uptake into the stream food web from the soybean oilseed processing facility, water, bed sediment, and tissue (whole organism) were sampled in the receiving stream both upstream and downstream of the wastewater discharge point (June 2021). Tissue analysis included benthic invertebrates, various fish species, riparian spiders, and macrophytes. Results documented an increase in the number of PFAS (0 to 23) and total concentrations (37.0 to 182 percent difference) in tissues upstream compared to those downstream of the wastewater discharge point. Results demonstrate the FPWW likely results in an increase of PFAS concentrations in species downstream and suggest feeding preferences may influence the number and concentration detected. This study provides a better understanding of potential deleterious effects of PFAS contamination from FPWW on the environmental health of receiving waters.

Laura E. Hubbarda, Dana W. Kolpinb, James L. Grayc, Amanda H. Bella, David J. Faziod, Jonathan R. Behrense
aUnited States Geological Survey, Madison, Wisconsin 53726, United States
bUnited States Geological Survey, Iowa City, Iowa 52240, United States
cUnited States Geological Survey, Lakewood, Colorado 80225, United States
dUnited States Geological Survey, Urbana, IL 61801, United States
eDuke University, Durham, NC 27708, United States

12:15-1:15pmLunch discussion: Solvent Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP): A Platform Technology for Plastic Recycling and Contaminant RemovalGeorge Huber, PhD
Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Director of the Center for Upcycling Waste Plastics
Reid Van Lehn, PhD
Assoc. Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Solvent Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP): A Platform Technology for Plastic Recycling and Contaminant Removal
Professors George W Huber and Reid C. Van Lehn
Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Abstract: Solvent-Targeted Recovery and Precipitation (STRAP) is a platform technology for recycling of plastics. STRAP uses a solvent to selectively dissolve one polymer in a solvent from a polymer mixture. We use three different computational tools (Hansen Solubility Parameters (HSPs), Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations, and the COnductor-like Screening MOdel for Realistic Solvents (COSMO-RS)) to predict the polymer solubility. STRAP can produce high quality resins for food grade applications. A techno-economic analysis indicates that resins recovered from STRAP can be cheaper than the virgin resins. We are now applying our STRAP technology for removal of PFAS, phthalates and other plastic additives.

George Huber

George Willis Huber

George Willis Huber is the Richard Antoine Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research focus is the design of disruptive technologies for the conversion of biomass, waste plastics and other waste resources into renewable fuels and chemicals. He is co-founder of Anellotech ( and Pyran ( He is the director of the $12.5 million Center on Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics (CUWP). George did a post-doctoral stay with Avelino Corma at the Technical Chemical Institute at the Polytechnical University of Valencia, Spain (UPV-CSIC). He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2005). He obtained his B.S. (1999) and M.S.(2000) degrees in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University.

Reid Van Lehn

Reid Van Lehn

Reid Van Lehn is the Hunt-Hougen Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research group develops and applies molecular simulation methods to characterize and engineer synthetic and biological soft materials for applications relevant to sustainability, energy, and human health. He is also a Topic Area Leader for the Center for the Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics (CUWP) and a Co-Investigator of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). He received his B.S. (2009) and Ph.D. (2014) in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, then performed research as a NIH Ruth-Kirschstein postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology before joining UW-Madison.

1:15 – 2:00pmMitigation and Rapid Detection Strategies for PFAS in PackagingGreg Curtzwiler, PhD
Faculty Researcher
Mark Early
Researcher, Polymer and Food Protection Consortium
Iowa State University
Dr. Greg Curtzwiler

Dr. Greg Curtzwiler

Dr. Greg Curtzwiler is an Assistant Professor in the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium at Iowa State University and a partner in Ideopak, LLC. His research is focused on developing new sustainable materials for adhesives, coatings, and polymers in the packaging and automotive industries including bio-based, compostable, and recycled polymers. He has expertise in polymers and coatings and surface analysis using a variety of instrumentation. Greg has 40+ publications and nine patents to his credit regarding food packaging, sustainable polymers, and nanotechnology.

Mark Early

Mark Early

Mark Early serves as a research scientist in the Polymer and Food Protection Consortium at Iowa State University. His research projects focus on understanding and developing safe and sustainable food packaging materials, including bio-based, recycled polymers, chemicals of concern monitoring, and chemical remediation technologies, in close coordination with students, staff, and industry partners under the supervision of Dr. Keith Vorst and Dr. Greg Curtzwiler.
He earned a B.S. in Chemistry from California Polytechnic State University. He is working on completing his Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi. His graduate research focused on dehydrogenase enzyme active coatings, diffusion restriction of epoxy-amine coating matrices, and thermoplastic thermoset hybrid networks.

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