Irene Manning is a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. She develops functional materials that capture PFAS — chemicals created in the production of goods like Teflon, stain-resistant fabrics, and food packaging — and remove them from water.
In 2016, a group of North Carolina researchers published evidence of high rates of PFAS in the Cape Fear River basin. While this unregulated family of chemicals is used in the production of everyday goods, its impact on human health is largely unknown. For the past year, scientists from UNC-Chapel Hill, five other UNC system universities, and Duke University, have researched these potentially dangerous chemicals found in drinking water sources across the state.