New technology could remove ‘PFAs’ from products, water supplies

Grace Hewitt and Alex Pearson

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Researchers have found a new way to remove certain chemicals found in everyday products and major water supplies.

This new solution addresses “forever chemicals” which are called polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS for short. They don’t break down easily causing them to stay in the environment forever.

But now a new technology could change that.

These PFAS chemicals are everywhere, from non-stick cookware to food packaging and even some cosmetics.

“It has water resistance. It has stain resistance. And so that are the good things about it,” said Linda Weavers, co-director of Ohio Water Resources Center.

But there are bad things about it and they’re becoming too dangerous — so researchers found a new solution to safely get rid of them.

“How ultrasound works is that with a high enough power and the right frequency, you think of the pitch of the sound and the loudness being the power. You can create cavitation bubbles in water,” said Weavers. “When they collapse, they compress the gas that’s inside of them and they heat it up.”

Researchers are still looking for the most efficient ways to use the ultrasound technique.

“One of the problems with the ultrasound is it uses a lot of energy in order to degrade compounds. And so one of the important things as an engineer that we have to think about is the energy for it, how we would make that work. What are the best applications for this technology?” said Weavers.

But change is coming. Once the chemicals stop getting in the environment that’s when we will slowly see a decrease over time.

“Those compounds where they’ve been taken off the market. And we’re already starting to see reduction in our blood levels and also in the environment. So we can make improvements. It’ll just take time,” said Weavers.

Experts say to reduce daily exposure use a water filter, avoid nonstick cooking tools and use glass containers instead of paper or cardboard.

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