Read the full article by Jack Nissen (Fox 2 Detroit)

“Researchers investigating solutions to the country’s problems of forever chemicals have set their sights on a bold objective: Total destruction.

A physics professor at Michigan State University is exploring ways of using plasma – a fourth state of matter made up of ions and electrons – to ‘permanently destroy’ PFAS, as he puts it. Per and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances are among the most persistent contaminants in the world.

The science behind the process is in the early stages of development. But Dr. Qi Hua Fan, the project director who runs the PFAS research lab at MSU, says the new technology has the ability to completely eliminate the substance without generating waste that usually follows other treatment efforts.

‘There’s never going to be a single solution. (Plasma) will also be part of a larger system,’ Fan said. ‘But this is really cost-effective. It’s very simple.’

There may only be few steps when it comes to using plasma to remove PFAS, but the science around the method can get complicated fast. 

Despite PFAS being detected across the world, its removal continues to stymie scientists. Even the EPA says researchers still don’t understand the best way to detect and remove it from the environment. That includes removing it from drinking water, air, soil, and people.  

Of the 2,854 sites that PFAS has been detected in, approximately 200 of them are in Michigan – one of the highest concentrations in the country.   

Standing in the way of most efforts to remove PFAS from the environment is the chemical bond that makes up the contaminant. It’s incredibly sturdy. Most methods that researchers use when removing PFAS struggle to break up the bond. ” …