Maryam Saffari Aman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her research project will involve characterizing the prevalence and persistence of PFAS in commercially available compost. The information is useful to inform policymakers, producers of food waste compost, and potential buyers of compost about the fate and transport of persistent chemical contamination in compost and common feedstocks, as well as the potential health and environmental risks posed by land applying compost. Diversion of food waste to composting facilities commonly includes food packaging and post-consumer paper products that may contain PFAS.
This project will try to determine the distribution of PFAS in compost related to physical characteristics such as particle size and the fraction of organic matter. The plan is to develop and execute research experiments that are focused on deepening understanding of the chemical, biological and physical processes that affect the quality of composting processes that use innovative feedstocks such as non-marketable paper. The plan is that the results of the experiment will determine the level and fate of persistent chemical contaminants such as PFAS in feedstock materials, including innovative use of non-recyclable paper products commonly found in food waste streams as well as the presence and persistence of per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in commercially available finished compost products.