Magnets are the key to removing hazardous PFAS chemicals

Queensland researchers have developed a method to quickly and easily remove hazardous PFAS chemicals from water using magnets.

Researchers from the University of Queensland have developed a method that requires neither electricity nor bulky laboratory equipment.

UQ polymer chemist Dr. Cheng Zhang and PhD student Xiao Tan (pictured) have developed a method to remove PFAS from water using magnets

UQ polymer chemist Dr. Cheng Zhang and PhD student Xiao Tan (pictured) have developed a method to remove PFAS from water using magnetsCredit:University of Queensland

PFAS (perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) have been used extensively in a variety of forms since the 1950s, including in firefighting foam used at airports and in consumer products such as non-stick frying pans.

They are now believed to cause cancer and other diseases, and are known as “forever chemicals” due to their tendency to remain in the environment without breaking down.

Although they are no longer used, methods were needed to remove them from the local environment, particularly where drinking water supplies have become contaminated.

The polymer chemist Dr. Cheng Zhang and PhD student Xiao Tan from UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology have found a way to quickly and easily remove PFAS from water.

The method is faster and easier than existing decontamination methods, which can take more than a day to remove PFAS.

The method is faster and easier than existing decontamination methods, which can take more than a day to remove PFAS.Credit:University of Queensland

They use something called a magnetic fluorinated polymer sorbent that binds to the PFAS in the water.

“Because it has a magnetic element, we then just remove the sorbent and PFAS along with a simple magnet,” Zhang said.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/magnets-key-to-removing-dangerous-pfas-chemicals-20230119-p5cdwl.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Magnets are the key to removing hazardous PFAS chemicals

Callan Tansill

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