Cleaning “Forever Chemicals”

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Cleaning “Forever Chemicals”
By Jerry Brownstein
Researchers from Texas A&M University (US) have developed a new technology that uses plant-based material and fungi to clean up dangerous PFAS chemicals. These man-made chemicals are found in many products including cleaning liquids, food wrappers, textiles, leather, paper, paints, etc.. They enter our water and soil through industrial waste disposal and landfills. Research is showing that PFAS are harmful to our health as they can affect the immune system, child development, reproductive organs and the liver. Extremely high exposures to PFAS are also linked to cancer. These pollutants are called “forever chemicals” because they do not degrade easily, so they last for many years.







Up until now there has not been a practical process for getting rid of PFAS, but Professor Susan Dai and her team have found a way. They use a plant-based material that adsorbs the pollutants, which are then consumed by microbial fungi. “The plant’s cell wall serves as a framework to absorb the PFAS,” Dai explained. “This material and the adsorbed chemical serve as food for a microbial fungus.” If this sustainable clean-up system can be scaled-up for commercial use, it will be a big step toward the goal of removing these chemical pollutants from the environment.







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