Persistent chemicals are a group of substances officially known as PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl, which are commonly found in products with non-stick and stain-resistant qualities, such as rain gear, non-stick cookware , anti-stain products and fire extinguishing foam.
According to previous research, chemicals can seep into the environment and persist for a long time before degrading. These toxic compounds can enter the body when people use cosmetics and sunscreens that contain PFAS.
While consumer products expose some, people may also be vulnerable to chemicals forever in drinking water.
Methods currently used for residential and industrial water treatment, such as activated carbon and ion exchange systems, do not effectively capture all of the various PFASs or require a longer treatment time.
In the latest study recently published in the journal Chemosphere, scientists from the University of British Columbia in Canada have developed an adsorbent material capable of capturing and retaining all PFAS present in water supplies.
Harmful chemicals are then destroyed using special electrochemical methods and techniques that use light.
„Our adsorbent media captures up to 99% of PFAS particles and can also be regenerated and potentially reused”said Madjid Mohseni, co-author of the study.
“This means that when we remove PFAS from these materials, we don’t end up with more highly toxic solid waste, which will pose another major environmental challenge.”Dr. Mohseni also said.
Scientists hope to further optimize the technology and make it ready for municipalities, industry and individuals.
„Our adsorbent media are particularly beneficial for people living in smaller communities who do not have the resources to implement the most advanced and expensive solutions that could capture PFAS.”said Dr. Mohseni.
„They can also be used in the form of decentralized treatments and at home for water treatment”, he also said.
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