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Water Treatment Developments: Getting Rid of "Forever Chemicals"

Reading or hearing about the latest environmental news often brings dread and worry to many people. Fortunately, many researchers and scientists have worked tirelessly to develop innovative solutions to environmental problems. While bad news is rampant, there is always a chance for hope.

In the latest news, scientists have found a way to eliminate ‘forever chemicals’ in the water, which can be a game-changer for the world.

What Are ‘Forever Chemicals’?

“Forever chemicals,” as the media calls them, refer to perfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl-substances (PFAS).

According to the CDC, these refer to chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products. These products resist heat, oil, grease, stains, and water. These coatings are found in various products, including clothes, furniture, adhesives, and even cooking surfaces.

Why Are PFAS harmful?

PFAS are considered a concern because they have the following characteristics:

  • They do not break down easily;
  • They can move through soils and contaminate various drinking sources; and
  • They tend to build up in fish and wildlife.

Long-term PFAS exposure in humans can also pose a health risk. Many can lead to debilitating conditions like liver damage, obesity, fertility issues, thyroid disease, and even cancer.

Since discovering its harmful effects, many research labs and organizations have monitored and formed solutions for finding traces of PFAS in our air, water, soil, and marine life. Others have also made it a priority to not only detect PFAS but also find a way to dispose of them before they become common.

The Latest Water Treatment Research

Fortunately, Good News Network posted a recent article on how scientists were able to create a filter that helps get rid of PFAS in drinking water sources.

The “supercritical water oxidation” (SWO) method destroys at least 99% of a wide variety of known and unknown PFAS traces in a water sample.

Supercritical water oxidation involves heating the water to a high degree under a certain pressure. When this occurs, it does not become gas or liquid but is in a “supercritical” state. When the water reaches this state, oxidation accelerates, and other reactions cause the PFAS to dissolve into component elements, which can then be collected and removed immediately.

Fortunately, supercritical water oxidation systems are commercially available, so they can easily be deployed to various water treatment centers, making it a game-changer for people to access clean and safe drinking water. To learn more about the SWO process, check out this article here.

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