Read the full article by Tracey Ferrer (Newcastle Herald)
“An Australian company has worked out how to permanently destroy so-called ‘forever chemicals’ that have left a toxic legacy at defence sites, airports and dumps across the nation, such as has been found at Williamtown and Fullerton Cove in the NSW Hunter region.
The PFAS family of chemicals includes more than 4000 manufactured substances that can be found in everything from make-up and household cleaning products to firefighting foam and hydraulic fluid for aircraft.
They’re commonly called forever chemicals because they don’t naturally break down, can travel long distances in water and air currents, and accumulate in soil, water, animals and humans.
PFAS chemicals are toxic to some animals, and lab-based studies have suggested they may cause cancer with prolonged, high-level exposure.
But the jury is still out on human health effects.
In the absence of definitive research, the federal government has told Australians to minimise exposure.
Meanwhile, it’s spending vast sums of money remediating defence force sites where firefighting foam has contaminated ground and surface water, and in dealing with damage claims from neighbouring landholders.
Traditional clean-up methods involve concentrating and then extracting PFAS, with the nasties then sent to landfill or incinerated. But neither is a permanent solution for fluorine, the molecule that stops PFAS from breaking down.
Australian company Synergen Met says it now has a complete solution – a more efficient, high-volume way to concentrate PFAS from contaminated liquids, and a ground-breaking plasma-based technology to bond problematic fluorine.
The end products – sodium fluoride or calcium fluoride – are not toxic and can be safely processed by wastewater treatment plants.”…