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Publication Date


Document Type


Study Type

ENX 301


Environmental Science and Policy


Paul Wetzel


For this project, we worked with FINE (Farm to Institution New England) to understand the risk of PFAS exposure via disposable foodware at colleges and universities. We used Smith College as a case study and spoke to people involved in the process of securing disposables for the school. In order to gain more background on the subject, our first task was to conduct a literature review, gathering key background information about PFAS more broadly as well as about its use in disposable foodware. Over the duration of the project we interviewed actors on the supply and Smith Dining sides to gain more insight about knowledge of exposure through disposables and the degree to which concerns about PFAS are prioritized in production and purchasing decisions. This allowed us to gain information about PFAS through sources from industry, NGOs, academia, and advocacy groups. Our deliverable was to determine which disposable foodware products used by Smith were likely to contain PFAS. We did so by analyzing Smith Dining purchasing spreadsheets for September, October, and November 2021, researching which of the products on the spreadsheets were certified PFAS-free, and establishing PFAS content ratings for each product based on this research. We found that there was insufficient information to assess whether the majority of products that Smith had purchased (about two-thirds) were likely to contain PFAS, about one-quarter were likely PFAS-free, and about 9 percent were likely to contain PFAS.


© The authors


ENX 301: Environmental Concentration Capstone Course

Report for Farm to Institution New England (FINE)

This project report summarizes the semester-long efforts of a team of students working on a project with a community partner. The student team gathered background information; collected data through surveys, interviews, or experiments; analyzed results, and reported findings and recommendations to the community partner and the public in an oral presentation. This report documents the combined effort of the project by the student team who wrote the report together