A breakthrough has been made in the fight to reduce the amount of hazardous, man-made ‘forever chemicals’ in the environment.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have many uses in society, but have also been linked to cancer and other health conditions.
They are known to be extremely pervasive, with a recent study claiming that rainwater everywhere on Earth has been found to contain dangerous levels.
This is partly due to how PFAS can take thousands of years to degrade, but scientists at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Northwestern University have discovered a new way of breaking them down.
They initiated a chemical reaction that ‘nibbled away’ at ten different PFAS by heating contaminated water with low-cost reagents.
The technology, which resulted in no harmful byproducts, could eventually make it easier for water-treatment plants to remove the chemicals from drinking water.