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The race to destroy the toxic ‘forever chemicals’ polluting our world

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The presence of "forever chemicals" (PFAS) in various environmental mediums, including drinking water, has raised significant concerns due to their link to cancers, birth defects, and immune system issues 
Efforts are increasing globally to detect, remove, and destroy these chemicals, which are challenging and costly to eliminate due to their persistence and low concentration levels

🔭 The context: PFAS are used in a wide range of products for their waterproofing properties but are difficult to break down, leading to their nickname "forever chemicals"  
These substances have been found globally in environments and human blood, prompting a reevaluation of their use and the development of technologies to treat their contamination 
Different countries have varying guidelines and limits for PFAS concentration in drinking water

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The widespread presence of PFAS in the environment and their potential health hazards underscore the importance of developing effective solutions for their removal and destruction 

⏭️ What's next: Researchers and industries are exploring various technologies for treating PFAS contamination, including nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, activated carbon filtration, and advanced coagulation methods 
There is also ongoing research into novel techniques like sonolysis for degrading PFAS. 

💬 One quote: “One of the most alarming things for me is that in order to find a blood sample that does not have PFAS in it, one study had to get blood from [1948-1951 American] Korean war soldiers” (Dr. Madeleine Bussemaker, University of Surrey)

📈 One stat: In the UK, the guideline for PFAS in drinking water is 100 nanograms per liter, while in the Netherlands it is advised to be a maximum of 4.4ng/l, highlighting the variance in regulatory approaches to managing PFAS levels

Click for more news covering the latest on environmental sustainability

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