“Forever chemicals” are very persistent compounds found everywhere on Earth, even in rainwater of Antarctica. They are harmful to humans, almost do not decompose naturally, and are part of many common things – Teflon pans, disposable cups, fire-fighting foam, etc. However, scientists have now found a way to destroy “forever chemicals” relatively quickly and cheaply.
In a study whose results were published in the journal Science, scientists mixed “forever chemicals” with two inexpensive compounds at a low boil. In a few hours, the chemical molecules disintegrated, quite surprising the scientists.
The new technology will allow the destruction of “forever chemicals” after they are extracted from water or soil. The scientists note that there is still a lot of work to be done to make their method practical outside the laboratory.
“Forever chemicals” – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – were first created in the 1930s. They turned out to be very effective in repelling water and grease, so they began to be widely used in industry. The peculiarity of these substances are extremely stable molecules that cannot be destroyed by water, bacterial enzymes or other natural substances. As a result, “forever chemicals” accumulate in water and soil all over the Earth.
These substances are also harmful to human health. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, liver damage, low birth weight and reduced immunity.