Research database

Project information
Project title
Innovative Training Network on PER and polyfluorinated alkyl substances towards the Future Of Research - The Norwegian Arctic link (PERFORCE-North)
Project leader
Dorte Herzke
Geographical localization of the research project in decimal degrees (max 5 per project, ex. 70,662°N and 23,707°E)
Tromsø: 69°39′07″N 018°57′12″E


·       Project leader(s)/institutions: Dorte Herzke (NILU)


·       Project participants/institutions: Torkjel Sandanger (UiT); Trude Borch (APN)


Hazardous Substances
Funding Source


Summary of Results

PERFORCE-North is the arctic link to the European Training Network (ETN) that brings together world leaders in a range of relevant multiple disciplines (physical, synthetic, environmental and analytical chemistry, pharmacokinetics, epidemiology, toxicology, remediation science and chemical policy) with state-of-the art technologies, to provide the highest quality training and research environment. One of the major tasks of both projects is the training of two PhDs on the matter of human exposure to PFAS contamination.  Both PhD candidates and one master student are in place and have started their projects in September 2020. In preparation of their arrival, methodology for the investigation of so far unknown PFAS precursors, present in human blood was carried out during spring/ summer 2020. He method of Total Oxidisable Precursor Assey (TOPA) was successfully established at the NILU laboratory, the first of its kind in the arctic regions and to the best of our knowledge also in Norway. PERFORCE-North contributes to both NILU, APN and UiT developing to be European leading actors well connected with excellent European research groups on the field of human exposure and effects by PFAS and the interaction with regulators and the general public as a clear added value for the flagship, aiding the efforts to disentangle the path from new knowledge to policies and contributing to policy implementation. PERFORCE-NORTH will build on this objective and open the focus on the arctic human populations and their PFAS exposure as well as using the FRAM Centre as a platform for outreach and stakeholder involvement, not part of the original PERFORCE project. Considerable additional tasks taken over by D. Herzke (Educational Board member, WP leadership and Equality Champion) and T. Sandanger (Administration of Tromsø samples, Development of a dedicated course) have been started up. 


The PhDs have started to determine PFASs and the amount of oxidisable and hydrolysable PFAA-precursors in blood from men and women from Arctic Norway (Tromsø) with up to five repeated blood samples from 1986 until 2016. These samples are from a diabetes nested case control study with two samples prior to the time of diagnosis. The other PhD will assess the effects of PFAS exposure on gene expression and on selected metabolites with a focus on lipid profiles in blood from women in the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study, Tromsø. The PhDs and masterstudent will be responsible for generating PFAS data together with technical staff at NILU in samples with already available mRNA and metabolite data in the fall of 2020/ winter 2021.






Master and PhD-students involved in the project

PhD Lara Cioni/ UiT

PhD Ana Miranda/ UiT

Masterstudent Wendy van Dreunen/ UiT

For the Management


With this project, two themes of the flagship hazardous compounds sub-topics are covered by our objectives (Theme 1, Human health & society and Theme 4.  Risk governance). The added value made possible by funding this project includes (1) Arctic-specific data on PFAS Exposure, (2) establishing state-of-the art analytical methodology in the FRAM Centre, (3) placing the FRAM Centre among leading research centers in Europe on the topic of PFAS exposure and risk assessment of PFAS an (4) providing us with novel insight into European policies and how to influence them (Stockholm Convention, OSPAR, AMAP, OECD) and (5) disseminating results and establishing a dialog with national environmental authorities. The project is in accordance with the objectives of the Fram Centre flagship “Hazardous substances – effects on ecosystem and health”.  With an extensive focus on communication with government agencies and providing scientific input to policy making, the project answers to one of the main issues highlighted in the recent Fram Centre evaluation.



Published Results/Planned Publications

Planned papers:

Paper 1: TOPA method for human plasma to assess the contribution of oxidisable Precursors the the exposure to legacy PFAS




èPaper 3: THE EFFECTS diet and lipid composition on exposure to SELECTED PFAA PRECURSOR COMPOUNDS/ lipidclasses and dietary predictors


Communicated Results

Press release of Project initiation

Interdisciplinary Cooperation



Chemistry, epidemiologi, human health, communication to society




Budget in accordance to results


Could results from the project be subject for any commercial utilization

PERFORCE-North is well prepared to fullfil its goals for 2021, mainly organising a project meeting with the PERFORCE project in April 2021, organising a stakeholder meeting in April or October 2021, depenend on Travel restruction as well as providing support and supervision to the three involved students.