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Hrmbee OP t1_jdbkypv wrote

>Scientists at the University of British Columbia announced on Wednesday that they had developed a new silica-based material with ability to absorb a wider range of the harmful chemicals, and new tools to break them apart them. > >“This is very exciting because we can target these difficult-to-break chemical bonds – and break them for good,” said researcher Madjid Mohseni, who focuses on water quality and water treatment. > >The chemicals, also known as PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are used for non-stick or stain-resistant surfaces, including clothing, cookware, stain repellents and firefighting foam. But they are also notoriously difficult to break down naturally, giving them the name “forever chemicals”. > >... > >Current technologies often use activated carbon to filter out the chemicals, but are largely only able to target what researchers call the “long-chain” versions of PFAS – those with more than six carbon bonds. Following recent bans, however, industry has shifted to creating ‘short chain’ iterations of the chemical. > >Those versions “are equally as toxic and they stay in the water better. And as a result, current technologies like activated carbon really aren’t as effective,” said Mohseni. > >Most household water filters use activated carbon – and as a result, miss a wide range of possibly harmful chemicals. > >His team also found that the current filters concentrate the absorbed chemicals, creating a “highly toxic” form of waste that consumers throw into the garbage. > >Such filters “are not addressing the problem. We’re just temporarily fixing it and letting those chemicals stay in the environment,” he said. > >To combat the deficiencies in combatting PFAS, the team has developed a new silicate absorbing material that captures a far wider range of chemicals. The thin material can also be reused repeatedly. > >To destroy the chemicals, Mohseni says researchers use either electrochemical or photochemical processes to break the carbon-fluorine bond. The team first published their findings in the journal Chemosphere.

This is some good news as far as PFASes are concerned, though ultimately we do need to limit their broader use in our manufacturing processes. Allowing manufacturers to jump from one compound to another to avoid regulation seems to be a major failing in our current regulatory systems.


Polymathy1 t1_jdbrr4b wrote

That failing has been frequently exploited.

BPA was just replaced with other BisPhenol compounds.


sonoma95436 t1_jdbs052 wrote

While I applaud the use of new substances to absorb and filter out forever chemicals, they do not break them down. They remain for disposal. It's a very good step but not the same as biodegradable.We must keep up the fight to get companies to stop using them in the first place.


peakzorro t1_jddhc46 wrote

At least there is hope to get some of it out of the environment as we phase out forever chemicals.


HungryTreasure t1_jdc0wqr wrote

Guaranteed this will just be used as an excuse to continue manufacturing these horrible chemicals.


Hrmbee OP t1_jdbl6r4 wrote

A link to the original research below:

Electrochemical degradation of PFOA and its common alternatives: Assessment of key parameters, roles of active species, and transformation pathway


>This study investigates an electrochemical approach for the treatment of water polluted with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), looking at the impact of different variables, contributions from generated radicals, and degradability of different structures of PFAS. Results obtained from a central composite design (CCD) showed the importance of mass transfer, related to the stirring speed, and the amount of charge passed through the electrodes, related to the current density on decomposition rate of PFOA. The CCD informed optimized operating conditions which we then used to study the impact of solution conditions. Acidic condition, high temperature, and low initial concentration of PFOA accelerated the degradation kinetic, while DO had a negligible effect. The impact of electrolyte concentration depended on the initial concentration of PFOA. At low initial PFOA dosage (0.2 mg L−1), the rate constant increased considerably from 0.079 ± 0.001 to 0.259 ± 0.019 min−1 when sulfate increased from 0.1% to 10%, likely due to the production of SO4•–. However, at higher initial PFOA dosage (20 mg L−1), the rate constant decreased slightly from 0.019 ± 0.001 to 0.015 ± 0.000 min−1, possibly due to the occupation of active anode sites by excess amount of sulfate. SO4•– and •OH played important roles in decomposition and defluorination of PFOA, respectively. PFOA oxidation was initiated by one electron transfer to the anode or SO4•–, undergoing Kolbe decarboxylation where yielded perfluoroalkyl radical followed three reaction pathways with •OH, O2 and/or H2O. PFAS electrooxidation depended on the chemical structures where the decomposition rate constants (min−1) were in the order of 6:2 FTCA (0.031) > PFOA (0.019) > GenX (0.013) > PFBA (0.008). PFBA with a shorter chain length and GenX with –CF3 branching had slower decomposition than PFOA. While presence of C–H bonds makes 6:2 FTCA susceptible to the attack of •OH accelerating its decomposition kinetic. Conducting experiments in mixed solution of all studied PFAS and in natural water showed that the co-presence of PFAS and other water constituents (organic and inorganic matters) had adverse effects on PFAS decomposition efficiency.


FrozenToonies t1_jdbqtkv wrote

Whatever this tech entails, it needs to be integrated into existing facilities. There’s no land available for a new facility in the lower mainland in BC. A new proposed environmental plant was just recently denied because the only land was a nature preserve.


bluebook21 t1_jddrtdw wrote

Then what do you do with the toxin saturated silica?


jbindel t1_jdenvls wrote

“To destroy the chemicals, Mohseni says researchers use either electrochemical or photochemical processes to break the carbon-fluorine bond.”


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Taman_Should t1_jdfn49d wrote

Can we start calling them something that's less stupid and clickbaity then?


dvdmaven t1_jdd3t4a wrote

California Warning: Silica is known to cause cancer (like everything else in California).