NHMRC opened a Targeted Call for Research (TCR) into Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkylated Substances (PFAS) on 19 December 2018. Applications closed on 1 May 2019.

The TCR into PFAS was created as part of an NHMRC budget initiative after an Expert Health Panel provided an advisory report to the Department of Health and Aged Care. The report found there was little evidence on PFAS exposure and human health outcomes. Subsequently NHMRC established a reference group of experts in the field to assist in developing the scope, objectives and selection criteria of a TCR into PFAS. The reference group, considering the advice from the department of Health’s Expert Health Panel, identified gaps in research evidence that would increase an understanding of how PFAS exposure may affect human health.

Successful applications for this TCR aim to address one or more of the following:

  • Advance existing understanding of human health outcomes that may arise from acute and long-term exposure to PFAS, including either direct health and/or indirect health outcomes such as stress, anxiety and trauma.
  • Investigate the biological mechanisms by which the different per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals may affect human health and whether there are differences in potencies that could inform human health risk assessments.
  • Investigate the various potential exposure pathways, including through the ingestion of products from animals exposed to PFAS, and identification of factors that can mitigate/exacerbate an individual’s susceptibility to health outcomes.
  • Evaluate and/or advance the reliability of biomonitoring of human PFAS exposure in Australia.
  • Develop and/or evaluate methods for analysis of human health data where exposure is to multiple per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals.
  • Develop and/or evaluate methods to minimise human environmental exposure to PFAS or enhance elimination following environmental exposure.

Outcomes from funded applications are expected to:

  • Provide high quality evidence on the health (direct and indirect) effects of exposure to PFAS over time.
  • Provide information on the most effective approaches to minimise the health effects of long-term human exposure to PFAS.