A group of manufactured and federally regulated chemicals, Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) have been used in consumer products and industrial uses for more than 60 years. Nicknamed the “forever chemicals”, PFAS break down very slowly. They are persistent and build up in the environment, people, and animals. PFAS are found in drinking water, food, household products, personal care products, soil and many more places.
Research has found that exposure to PFAS can lead to health problems. Depending on the levels of exposure, issues such as reproductive problems, developmental delays in children, increased risk of certain cancers, decreased ability to fight infections, obesity, and more can occur. Research continues to discover the full picture of the effects of PFAS.
When you combine PFAS’ resistance to breaking down with the adverse effects they create, it is easy to see that finding a method for removing PFAS from the environment would be extremely desirable. PSAF are electrically charged, have highly stable bonds, and are water-resistant. That makes them difficult to destroy. But the researchers were determined to make it happen.
Through their research, they found a way to attract, capture, and destroy PFAS in water using a copolymer electrode to create an electrochemical reaction. The method not only removes the harmful contaminants from water but destroys them at the same time with the opposite electrode.
The team tested their findings by used various water samples that contained different levels of PSAF. In a three-hour period using the electrochemical process, there was a 93% reduction of PFAS in the lower-level samples, and an 82.5% reduction in the moderate level samples.
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