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New PhD at NILU: Lara Cioni

Lara Cioni
Foto: Stefano Cioni

On 6 December, Lara Cioni defended her thesis “Human Exposure to PFAS and Other Anthropogenic Organofluorine Chemicals in Tromsø between 1986 and 2015″ for her PhD in health sciences at UiT the Arctic University of Norway.  

Dr. Cioni has focused on the environmental pollutants known as PFAS in her doctoral work.

In her thesis “Human Exposure to PFAS and Other Anthropogenic Organofluorine Chemicals in Tromsø between 1986 and 2015”, she explains that every day, we are exposed to chemicals through air, food, water and products we use.

In particular, PFAS (a group of more than 4700 organofluorine chemicals) are found in objects that we use every day, for example in outdoor clothing. These chemicals have received international attention due to their presence in human blood worldwide and their potential health effects.

In this thesis, Lara Cioni and her colleagues used several different methods on human blood collected in the Tromsø Study to investigate how exposure to PFAS and other organofluorine chemicals in the Tromsø population has been changing between 1986-2015.

The results show that in recent years the total organofluorine found in blood did not increase and PFAS concentrations have been declining (even if some individual PFAS are increasing).

They also measured PFAS precursors (chemicals that can be transformed to PFAS in our body) for the first time and found that they contributed little to organofluorine exposure. They also found that a significant part of the organofluorine in blood was explained by the presence of organofluorine pharmaceuticals.

Lastly, part of the organofluorine in blood could not be described but this unidentified portion decreased between 1986-2015.

Lara’s supervisors were senior scientist Dorte Herzke, Department of Environmental Chemistry and Health Effects, NILU / Ass. Prof II at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, professor Torkjel M. Sandanger, Department of Community Medicine, UiT The Arctic University of Norway and senior scientist Vladimir Nikiforov, Department of Environmental Chemistry and Health Effects, NILU.

Lara med veiledere. Fra venstre Vladimir Nikiforov, Dorte Herzke, Lara Cioni og Torkjel M. Sandanger.
Lara with her supervisors. From left Vladimir Nikiforov, Dorte Herzke, Lara Cioni and Torkjel M. Sandanger. Photo: Stefano Cioni