"Think Brita filter, but a thousand times better." That’s what engineering professor Dr. Madjid Mohseni of the University of British Columbia said about a new water treatment that reduces forever chemicals from drinking water.
PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of chemicals that are present in a wide array of common consumer products, from toilet paper to clothing. PFAS are known as "forever chemicals" because they don't break down in the environment or in our bodies.
Studies have linked exposure to PFAS to adverse health effects. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says investigations into how exposure to PFAS can be harmful are still being conducted. The CDC notes that PFAS are in food and the environment, making it unlikely to eliminate exposure entirely.
To rid water of forever chemicals, Mohseni’s team created an adsorbing material capable of trapping and holding all the PFAS present in the water supply, the University of British Columbia said. The PFAS are later destroyed using special electrochemical and photochemical techniques, the university said.
"Our adsorbing media captures up to 99% of PFAS particles and can also be regenerated and potentially reused," he said. "This means that when we scrub off the PFAS from these materials, we do not end up with more highly toxic solid waste that will be another major environmental challenge."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency,PFAS can be found in drinking water. But the EPA said it's unknown how to effectively rid drinking water of forever chemicals.
The University of British Columbia study isn’t the only attempt to use filters to eliminate PFAS from water. Last year, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences spotlighted CycloPure, Inc’s filters,which can rid up to 65 gallons (700 single-use water bottles) of PFAS with one filter.
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