I recently wrote about the health hazards presented by so-called “forever chemicals” found in many of the freshwater fish caught in the United States. But many of these same contaminants can be found in the water we drink, potentially leading to serious negative consequences.
What caused the problem?
Prior to the mid-20th century, these chemicals — commonly referred to as PFAS — did not even exist. When they were developed, however, manufacturers gravitated toward their ability to repel water and oil, which made them useful in a number of products including nonstick pans, textiles, and food packaging.
Little did they know (or perhaps care) at the time, these chemicals can easily seep into the food and water supply and they are virtually impossible to eradicate.
Fortunately, one group of Australian researchers at the University of Queensland believe they have developed a way to remove forever chemicals from water.
A high-tech solution
According to studies, the use of a specialized solution known as a magnetic fluorinated polymer sorbent is capable of surrounding and magnetizing PFAS. From there, it’s practically as simple as using a magnet to remove nearly all of the chemicals from contaminated water.
Early research suggests that the process can remove more than 95% of the molecules in general and more than 99% of an especially dangerous type of PFAS.
Removing the contaminants only takes about 30 seconds and the solution can be used multiple times.
As Dr. Cheng Zhang said of his team’s research: “Our method shows it is possible to remove more of these chemicals in a way that is faster, cheaper, cleaner, and very simple.”
He went on to tout the fact that the process does not rely on electricity, which means “it can be used in remote and off-grid communities.”