The “forever chemicals,” or PFAS, are said to be broken down into smaller and less hazardous components in drinking water, according to researchers. As more study reveals potential health issues linked to PFAS use, the technology might be introduced to the water purification process to stop the alarming buildup of these chemicals in our water supply.
Chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are exceedingly hard to break down because of their strong chemical linkages and do not naturally breakdown in the environment. They are extremely valuable in industrial applications thanks to their remarkable stability, which also makes them hazardous. There are currently about 4,700 members of the PFAS family used in a variety of manufacturing processes. They are found in a variety of products, including food packaging, cookware, clothing, makeup, and carpeting; eliminating them at this stage would be more difficult than eliminating CFCs in 1994.
Almost percent of the subjects evaluated in one research had PFAS in their blood, according to a Californian investigation.
Therefore, the finding in recent research that the particular PFASs they examined—a very narrow selection—are detrimental to both people and wildlife and love to cluster together to become even more troublesome should be cause for concern. They are being injected into the soil, woods, waterways, and oceans, harming local fauna. However, once they are there, they cannot be removed without extensive human intervention.
Scientists from the University of California, Riverside have created a method to use ultraviolet (UV) radiation to break these indestructible chemicals down in drinking water in an effort to stop this issue in our water supply.
Hydrogen is added to the water to make the PFAS more reactive before being exposed to high-energy UV, which promotes reactions that assist the contaminants be destroyed. In addition to the hazardous carbon-fluoride bonds being broken, the PFAS are converted into byproducts that are believed to be safe. The study found that practically all of the PFAS were eliminated.
The technology is currently being further improved by the researchers in an effort to make it more widely used.
In a statement, co-author Haizhou Liu said, “We are optimizing it by trying to make this technique adaptable for a wide range of PFAS-contaminated source waters.”
The method has produced very encouraging outcomes in the PFAS destruction in both drinking water and several industrial effluent types.