Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 10/9/2023

Research for Understanding PFAS Uptake and Bioaccumulation in Plant and Animals in Agricultural, Rural, and Tribal Communities Request for Applications (RFA)

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals that have been widely used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. PFAS are resistant to environmental and metabolic degradation and can build up in the environment and the human body over time [1]. The substances may be found in soil, air, water, and food as well as in materials in homes or workplaces (e.g., fire extinguishing foam, food packaging, biosolids, personal care packaging, etc.) [2,3]. Due to their widespread use, most people in the United States have been exposed to some level of PFAS. Exposure to certain PFAS may lead to detrimental health impacts including reproductive effects, developmental effects, increased risks of cancers, weakening of the immune system, and endocrine system disruption [4,5]. Agriculture and PFAS chemicals can intersect through soil, air, and water. These resources may be contaminated through dust particles, application of biosolid residues, and leaching [6,7,8,9].

A large portion of current PFAS research has prioritized data generation and information collection through theoretical science instead of practical application. Identifying, characterizing, and understanding PFAS uptake within agricultural environments will provide vital information related to exposure pathways and will help inform the development of scalable solutions. Research is essential to increase knowledge related to biological uptake in agricultural and rural settings, improve farm viability, and to explore approaches to understand PFAS accumulation in plants and animals. Future research should build upon previous foundations and develop science that has the potential to guide scalable on-farm solutions. Further research is needed to explore the exposure mechanisms of PFAS, develop mitigation strategies, and increase the general knowledge of PFAS and its health risks.

Deadline: Dec. 6, 2023

Areas of Interest

Research Area Categories:  

• PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation through biosolid agricultural use and approaches to ensure biosolid application does not contribute to PFAS soil concentration.  

• PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation in livestock (including aquaculture) from feed and water.    

• PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation through the utilization of irrigation water, possibly including recycled municipal wastewater or water from effluent dominated waterbodies.  

• Potentially substantial PFAS contamination in pre-harvest agricultural operations through previously unidentified or lesser-known sources.      

• PFAS contamination and bioaccumulation in whole-food webs, wildlife and game, and culturally sensitive plants as it relates to Tribal agricultural settings and communities. 

Eligibility Requirements

Public and private nonprofit institutions/organizations, public and private institutions of higher education (IHEs), and hospitals located in the U.S. and its territories or possessions; state and local governments; Federally Recognized Indian Tribal Governments; and U.S. territories or possessions are eligible to apply. Profit-making firms and individuals are not eligible to apply.

If an applicant submits more than one application under this announcement, each application must be submitted separately, and the scope of work proposed in each application must be significantly different from the other application(s) in order for them to all be deemed eligible. If applications are submitted with scopes of work that do not significantly differ, then EPA will only accept the most recently submitted application and all other applications will be deemed ineligible. 

Amount Description

It is anticipated that a total of approximately $8,000,000 will be awarded under this announcement, depending on the availability of funds, quality of applications received, and other applicable considerations. The EPA anticipates funding approximately five awards under this RFA. Requests for amounts in excess of a total of $1,600,000 per award, including direct and indirect costs, will not be considered. The total project period requested in an application submitted for this RFA may not exceed four years.   

Funding Type