Researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology have developed innovative technology to remove dangerous pollutants from drinking water.
The technology efficiently removes and destroys synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds (PFAS). PFAS is a family of problematic pollutants, also known as “forever chemicals” because of their chemical stability and environmental persistence.
There are thousands of PFAS chemicals, and they are found in many different consumer, commercial, and industrial products. This makes it challenging to study and assess the potential human health and environmental risks. These substances can be found in air, water, soil, and food, as well as a large range of products, including Teflon pan coating, fire-fighting foam, flame retardants, and water repellent additives. They reach the groundwater in various ways, including agricultural irrigation using treated wastewater and fire-fighting substances seeping into the soil. As a result of their chemical stability, they remain intact in the ground for a long time, leading to extensive contamination of drinking sources, which in turn significantly increases human exposure.
“Lately, it has become clear that these chemicals are of severe health and ecological hazard – thus, finding ways to remove and destroy them is of great importance,” Dr. Adi Radian, an assistant professor at the Technion, tells NoCamels.
Dr. Radian, head of the Soil and Environmental Chemistry Lab in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, headed the study with her post-doctoral student Dr. Samapti Kundu. Their findings were published in the Chemical Engineering Journal.
Exposure to PFAS can cause many health risks, including cancer, heart, and liver disease, fertility problems, birth defects, and damage to the immune system. In 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), as a possible human carcinogen based in part on limited epidemiologic evidence of associations with cancers of the kidney and testis in heavily exposed subjects.
These substances have been monitored in Israel. Last summer, the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority stopped using fire retardant foam containing two toxic substances from the PFAS family out of concern that these chemicals would seep into the groundwater, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reported. A few months prior, the Health Ministry had discovered a drinking water source that had been polluted by these chemicals located in the Haifa Bay suburbs. They assumed that the pollution comes from the use of this fire-retardant foam at a fuel storage facility in the area. The extraction of potable water in the Krayiot region was stopped following the discovery of this high PFAS concentration.
Haaretz reported that there are currently no standards in…