Laurel Royer

Laurel A. Royer, Ph.D.

Managing Scientist
Environmental & Earth Sciences

Dr. Royer specializes in the transport and fate, biotic and abiotic transformations of organic contaminants in complex environmental matrices and systems. She has specialized expertise of chemicals with unique physical and chemical properties that further complicate the physiochemical and geochemical processes that facilitate or impede their overall transport and fate in the environment. By extension, Dr. Royer has applied this in-depth knowledge to support clients on projects focused on the potential human and wildlife impacts that may have resulted from environmental exposure. In addition to addressing environmental issues associated with recent contamination concerns, such as oil spills, hydraulic fracturing impacts, and the presence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFAS) in the environment, Dr. Royer also evaluates legacy contaminated sites including MGP impacted sites and oil refineries.

Dr. Royer has practical experience with preparing, framing, and presenting complex scientific concepts to non-scientific audiences in remote, rural, and urban communities.


  • Ph.D., Agronomy, Purdue University, 2011
  • M.Sc., Medicinal Chemistry, Purdue University, 2006
  • B.Sc., Chemistry, University of the Virgin Islands, 2002
  • External Board Member, Biological Engineering Program, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, 2016-present


Shields W, Edwards M, Monti C, Royer. Examination of PCDD/F outliers in soil background studies provides insights into historic sources. Organohalogen Cmpds 2016; 78:576-578.

Royer LA, Lee LS, Russel MA, Nies L, Turco RF. Microbial transformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer acrylate and methacrylate in aerobic soils. Chemosphere 2014; 129:54–61.

Shields WJ, Ahn S, Pietari J, Robrock K, Royer L. Atmospheric fate and behavior of POPs. Chapter 6. In: Environmental Forensics for Persistent Organic Pollutants. O’Sullivan W, Sandau C (eds), Chennai: Elsevier, pp. 199–290, 2014.

Dasu K, Royer LA, Liu J, Lee LS. Hydrolysis of fluorotelomer compounds leading to fluorotelomer alcohol production during solvent extraction of soils. Chemosphere 2010; 81(7):911–917.


Royer LA. Per- and polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) – An overview. Air and Waste Management Association – Georgia Chapter, December 2016.

Royer LA, Lee LS. Biodegradation potential of fluorotelomer acrylate and methacrylate in aerobic soil. Platform presentation at SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, November 7–11, 2010.

Royer LA, Dasu K, Liu J, Lee LS. Ester hydrolysis of fluorotelomer stearate and acrylate in soil. Presentation at the EmCon Meeting, Fort Collins, CO, August 4–7, 2009.

Professional Affiliations

The American Chemical Society—ACS

Society for Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology—SETAC

National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers—NOBCChE

Project Experience

Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS)

Conducted and evaluated studies of PFAS in rivers, including evaluations of surface water and sediments and assessments of PFAS levels in fish—and potential related bioaccumulation in the food chain. Studies have included the design and implementation of sampling and analysis plans.

Related contracting and oversight of laboratories with established capabilities for PFAS analysis and has built a knowledge base of North American laboratories with this specialized analytical expertise.

Investigated historical use, disposal practices and environmental fate of PFAS as well as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) at multiple sites.

To support litigation matters, assessed transport and fate of PFAS and its resulting distribution across and within environmental media (soil and water). Evaluated water treatment options and their efficacy, to incorporate appropriate measures into an overall environmental management program.

Reviewed global body of laws and regulations regarding PFAS, to assimilate a comprehensive background body of knowledge, including the UNEP/Stockholm Convention, the European regulatory climate (e.g., Sweden, Norway, Germany, and United Kingdom), the World Trade Organization as well as U.S. federal and state guidelines. In specific U.S. states, studied the regulations, fish advisories, impairment listings, and other regulatory publications.

On behalf of clients, actively monitoring developments in PFAS research and initiatives to stay abreast of the state of the science. Areas of inquiry include environmental transport and fate (biodegradation, WWTP processes, surface water, groundwater, soil, and sediment), and human health (including epidemiology, toxicology, data from NHANES surveys, and other endeavors). Knowledge base includes PFAS biotransformation in environmental systems, PFAS precursors, and fluorotelomer compounds (e.g., 8:2 FTOH).

Established comprehensive expertise on PFAS chemistry and uses - including their synthesis and manufacture (e.g., electrochemical fluorination, fluorotelomerization), the chemistry of AFFFs, composition of formulations that historically entered the global market, as well as those formulations currently in use.

Evaluated the biodegradation of fluorotelomer-based monomers in soil to determine transformation to fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and other fluorotelomer and perfluorinated carboxylic acid (FTCA and PFCA) metabolites using GC/MS and LC/MS analysis.

Aquatic Toxicity Studies

Coordinated a team that developed a verification and validation program to ensure accurate documentation of aquatic toxicity test methods, and reporting of test results and study performance as they apply to exposure/toxicity assessments of oil and oil components to many marine species. Work included development of a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual; implementation of a reporting system to notify commercial and academic testing labs of emerging issues; development of a knowledge base concerning EPA, ASTM, and ISO aquatic toxicity guidance documents for the conduct of standard toxicity tests; and preparing internal verification/validation reports on behalf of a client.

Other Work

Reviewed analytical results, historical documents, and other site-specific data to support environmental forensics evaluation of former MGP sites.

Reviewed product stewardship program for a large consumer product manufacturer.

In an insurance claim litigation matter, led a team that reviewed historical documents, and contaminant concentrations in soils and water, to develop a case that would support reimbursement of remediation and responsibility for other costs, as defined by the insurance policy period.

In support of a project to determine applicability of CERCLA Petroleum Exclusion at the site, compiled and reviewed data for samples taken from a closed oil refinery.

Compiled and reviewed data relevant to understanding the distribution of dispersants used during a major oil spill.

Assisted with a study design focused on the determination of dispersant markers in water, based on the application of oil spill dispersants.

Reviewed relevant literature on photodegradation of PAHs in water to support sample analysis results from data related to an oil spill.

Reviewed literature related to sedimentation rates to support Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Assessed the dechlorination potential of zero-valent iron complexes in PCB-contaminated soil.

Designed and performed the synthesis of peptides and other organic products for application as peptidomimetic compounds.

Performed NMR and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) confirmation of synthesis products.

Served as co-education and outreach coordinator for collaborative environmental monitoring program with Native Alaskan Villages.


News & Events


  • Ph.D., Agronomy, Purdue University, 2011
  • M.Sc., Medicinal Chemistry, Purdue University, 2006
  • B.Sc., Chemistry, University of the Virgin Islands, 2002
  • External Board Member, Biological Engineering Program, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University, 2016-present