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PFAS(パーフルオロアルキル物質およびポリフルオロアルキル物質)は、耐熱性、耐水性、耐油性などの独特の特性により、さまざまな産業製品や消費者製品に広く使用されている合成化学物質のグループです。 しかし、PFAS は環境中に残留し、人体内に生物蓄積する可能性があり、甲状腺機能不全、生殖および発生毒性、特定のがんのリスク増加などの潜在的な健康リスクを引き起こす可能性があることがわかっています。

ブリティッシュ コロンビア大学のエンジニアは、飲料水から「永久化学物質」を効率的かつ安全に完全に除去する革新的な水処理システムを開発しました。


正式にはPFAS(パーおよびポリフルオロアルキル物質)として知られるフォーエバーケミカルは、特定の製品に非粘着性および耐汚染性の品質を与える物質の膨大なグループです。 4,700 種類を超える PFAS が使用されており、これらの化学物質は雨具、焦げ付き防止調理器具、防汚剤、消火泡などによく使われています。 研究では、PFAS とホルモンの不均衡を含むさまざまな健康問題が関連付けられています。[{” attribute=””>cardiovascular disease, developmental issues, and even cancer.

To remove PFAS from drinking water, Dr. Mohseni and his team devised a unique adsorbing material that is capable of trapping and holding all the PFAS present in the water supply.

UBC Unique Adsorbing Material

UBC researchers devised a unique adsorbing material that is capable of capturing all the PFAS present in the water supply. Credit: Mohseni Lab/UBC

The PFAS are then destroyed using special electrochemical and photochemical techniques, also developed at the Mohseni lab and described in part in a new paper published recently in Chemosphere.

Madjid Mohseni

UBC researcher, professor Madjid Mohseni. Credit: University of British Columbia

While there are treatments currently on the market, like activated carbon and ion-exchange systems which are widely used in homes and industry, they do not effectively capture all the different PFAS, or they require longer treatment time, Dr. Mohseni explained.

“Our adsorbing media captures up to 99 percent of PFAS particles and can also be regenerated and potentially reused. This means that when we scrub off the PFAS from these materials, we do not end up with more highly toxic solid waste that will be another major environmental challenge.”

He explained that while PFAS are no longer manufactured in Canada, they are still incorporated in many consumer products and can then leach into the environment. For example, when we apply stain-resistant or repellent sprays/materials, wash PFAS-treated raingear, or use certain foams to put down fires, the chemicals end up in our waterways. Or when we use PFAS-containing cosmetics and sunscreens, the chemicals could find their way into the body.

For most people, exposure is through food and consumer products, but they can also be exposed from drinking water – particularly if they live in areas with contaminated water sources.

Dr. Mohseni, whose research group also focuses on developing water solutions for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, noted: “Our adsorbing media are particularly beneficial for people living in smaller communities who lack resources to implement the most advanced and expensive solutions that could capture PFAS. These can also be used in the form of decentralized and in-home water treatments.”

The UBC team is preparing to pilot the new technology at a number of locations in B.C. starting this month.

“The results we obtain from these real-world field studies will allow us to further optimize the technology and have it ready as products that municipalities, industry, and individuals can use to eliminate PFAS in their water,” said Dr. Mohseni.

Reference: “Electrochemical degradation of PFOA and its common alternatives: Assessment of key parameters, roles of active species, and transformation pathway” by Fatemeh Asadi Zeidabadi, Ehsan Banayan Esfahani, Sean T. McBeath, Kristian L. Dubrawski and Madjid Mohseni, 3 January 2023, Chemosphere.
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.137743

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