Secondary Faculty

Elsie M Sunderland

Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering in the Department of Environmental Health

Environmental Health

Other Positions

Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Environmental Science and Engineering

Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences



Are there toxins in your mascara?

Most of the waterproof mascara, liquid lipsticks, and foundations tested in a recent study contained high levels of fluorine—suggesting the likely presence of toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

How deregulation of mercury could harm health

A recent Trump administration decision to ease mercury regulations for oil- and coal-fired plants will significantly harm public health, according to Elsie Sunderland. Sunderland, professor of environmental science and engineering in the Department of Environmental Health, spoke about…

Understanding the risks of ‘forever chemicals’

News about a family of toxic synthetic chemicals called PFASs—“per- and polyfluoralkyl substances”—has recently been making headlines in New England. In Connecticut, PFASs were found to be leaching out of landfills in Hartford and Ellington. In Massachusetts, a…

A primer on ‘forever chemicals’

There’s been more and more news lately about the presence of “forever chemicals” in the environment. These widely used chemicals—whose technical name is “per- and polyfluoralkyl substances,” or PFASs—remain in the environment for thousands or even millions of…