December 14, 2023

Missouri environmental health official selected for national PFAS team


Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Jeff Wenzel, who leads the Bureau of Environmental Epidemiology with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) will serve as a team leader for a new Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) team for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through 2025. PFAS have emerged as a critical environmental concern due to their pervasive presence and potential health risks.

In use since the 1940s, these synthetic chemicals, which are found in various everyday items like cookware, food packaging and firefighting foams possess unique properties that make them resistant to grease, water and stains. However, their persistence in the environment and potential adverse effects on human health and ecosystems have drawn significant attention.

This ITRC PFAS team, which will begin work in January, will build upon the closing ITRC PFAS Team that Wenzel has participated in since its inception seven years ago. Wenzel will be one of three team leaders for this two-year project leading over 500 members.

“The problems around PFAS contamination are a challenge across the country,” said Paula F. Nickelson, director of DHSS. “We are pleased to have Jeff representing us and the entire Midwest as these important discussions continue.”

ITRC’s PFAS guidance and training materials have become essential resources for the U.S. and international environmental communities since the team was formed in 2017.

For the next two years, this ITRC PFAS team will focus on creating materials for newer, focused topics of concern to the environmental community, developing new guidance on applying sorption-based technologies for separation and concentration of PFAS, and maintaining the accuracy of current ITRC PFAS guidance in response to new information and making improvements to their accessibility.

“ITRC is a great organization focused on environmental solutions and education through collaboration with members from all 50 states with members being from state, federal, tribal, and international agencies, as well as members from academia, the private sector, and the public.” said Wenzel.  “I am looking forward to continuing with ITRC in this new role with this new team.”

ITRC is a state-led environmental coalition working to create innovative solutions and best management practices. ITRC produces documents and training that broaden and deepen technical knowledge and expedite quality regulatory decision making while protecting human health and the environment. ITRC PFAS resources can be found on its website.




Mission of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS): To promote health and safety through prevention, collaboration, education, innovation and response.