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NSF invests in engineering research to remove PFAS from the environment

PFAS, with background images of makeup, food containers, and fire-fighting foams

In fiscal year 2021, the U.S. National Science Foundation funded nine fundamental research projects to create new strategies to remediate PFAS in the environment. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, persist and accumulate in soil, water and living organisms, and they can lead to adverse health effects.

The extreme chemical stability of PFAS is one attribute that has led to their widespread use in food packaging, nonstick pans, stain-repellant fabrics, electronics, fire-fighting foams and many other commercial applications.

However, once PFAS enter the environment, that stability becomes a problem. The chemicals are very resistant to degradation, and they are largely impervious to conventional water treatment methods, such as municipal drinking water treatment.

Credit: NSF

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