A new study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology concludes that some highly fluorinated chemicals are harder to filter from water. Chris Higgins, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the Colorado School of Mines is an author of a study out today in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. He and his team sampled a groundwater well near a military base where firefighting foam had been used. They found two chemicals that are commonly found in that foam, called PFOA and PFOS. And 28 other fluorinated chemicals.

Higgins says they ran tests in the lab to model how well a granular activated carbon filter would work on these chemicals (like the kind some water treatment plants use).

“These filters have the capacity to work for these other chemicals. You just have to replace the carbon much more frequently,” he says.

He says this matters because we don’t know a lot about many of these fluorinated chemicals. And it’s expensive to change out filters more often.

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