Read the full article by Anna Reade and Katy Pelch (NRDC)
“If you follow the news on the PFAS crisis, sensational headlines were abundant earlier this month in response to an exciting advance in PFAS destruction research (see here, here, and here, for recent reporting on a study reporting destruction of a select subset of PFAS using a base/DMSO process). Unfortunately most of these headlines were misleading on the imminence of solutions to the PFAS crisis and reflect misconceptions or misunderstandings of the technology and its status.
It is important to evaluate new technologies critically with the full context of the problem in mind as we outline below. And, while evaluating any technology, we have to keep in mind we should stop adding to the problem immediately wherever possible, because PFAS are still forever. A comprehensive, reliable, economical, and easily deployable method for destroying PFAS is not imminent as of now. Stopping the production, use, and release of PFAS is still the most efficient method to protect the public and environment from PFAS exposure and harm.
PFAS, a class of thousands of man made chemicals that are widely used in consumer products and industrial processes, are often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ because of their extreme persistence and resistance to breakdown. They are known to contaminate our air, water, land, and are found in the bodies of virtually all people living in the US. PFAS are linked to multiple health effects including, cancer, kidney and liver damage, and immune system disruption.
Though efforts are underway to clean up PFAS contamination sites in our environment, we currently lack safe methods to dispose of PFAS waste. Current disposal methods include: 1) incineration, which doesn’t fully destroy PFAS and often results in the release and spreading of airborne PFAS and other toxics near the incineration site; 2) landfilling or deep-well injection, which concentrates PFAS in the ground where they can then leach and seep into groundwater supplies. What is needed is a technology that fully destroys, or “mineralizes” PFAS (breaks apart the carbon-fluorine bonds that give PFAS their durability) so that PFAS waste does not reenter the environment.” …