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New material could filter water contaminants that others miss

Chemicals from nonstick manufacturing have been difficult to clean up

4:23pm, June 20, 2017
aviation fire

TOXIC FOAM  The foam used to put out aviation fires often contains toxic perfluorooctanoic acid and related molecules. When these chemicals get into the water supply, they linger for years without breaking down. A new material may offer a better way to filter them out.

A new material can pull a toxic, hard-to-degrade industrial chemical from drinking water more effectively than current methods.

Perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, hangs around in the environment for years and might cause health problems for people and animals. A new polymer material traps PFOA molecules, making them easy to filter out of water, researchers report in the June 14 Journal of the American Chemical Society

PFOA is one of several fluorine-containing molecules that have come under scrutiny in recent years. Known as perfluorinated compounds, the chemicals have been used to manufacture nonstick coatings on cookware and are in fire-suppressing foams used by the military and aviation industry.

Many manufacturers are phasing out PFOA and its chemical cousins, substituting less harmful molecules, but the problem hasn’t gone away. Once they’re in groundwater or rivers, the

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