Scientists have devised an ingenious magnetic chemical remover that can clear dangerous “forever chemicals” from water, making it safe to drink again.
Forever chemicals, which are more scientifically known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), are a group of chemicals that have been widely used since the 1950s. These chemicals are helpful because they repel water and oil; however, recent studies have linked PFAS chemicals to various health issues. This is why this magnetic chemical remover is so important.
But what makes these “forever chemicals” so dangerous? A big part of it is how difficult it is for these chemicals to break down due to their highly stable molecules. Further, a new study says these chemicals are so abundant that rainwater isn’t safe to drink. But, if this magnetic chemical remover works as well as scientists say, it could change everything.
Researchers at the University of Queensland created the technique. It relies on the use of a solution that they call a magnetic fluorinated polymer sorbent. This magnetic chemical remover is added to contaminated water, making the molecules in the forever chemicals magnetic.
Then, all the researchers had to do was place a magnet next to the water container, allowing them to separate the water and the chemicals altogether. Further, this magnetic chemical remover can be reused up to 10 times, and it works much faster than other solutions that researchers have tried to come up with.
If you want to understand better how the solution works, you can check out the video embedded above. The researchers also published a paper on their findings in the journal Angewandte Chemie, which describes how they created the magnetic chemical remover and how it works to remove these forever chemicals from the water, making it safe to drink again.