The Science Claims It Found a Cheap Way to Destroy Some PFAS

They don’t really care about this.

The only thing they care about is global warming.

There’s finally hope for a simple, cheap way to destroy a class of ubiquitous environmental toxins found in shampoos, fast-food wrappers, and fire-dousing foams. A common ingredient in soap, mixed with water and an organic solvent, readily degrades per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly known as “forever chemicals” because they can stick around in the environment for decades, a new study shows. The mixture doesn’t work on all PFAS compounds, but related approaches might offer communities a cheap way to rid soils and drinking water of contaminants that currently put millions of people at risk for cancer and other diseases.

“It’s encouraging and promising,” says Tasha Stoiber, an environmental chemist at the Environmental Working Group, a U.S.-based nonprofit that closely tracks the issue. Current methods for collecting and treating PFAS compounds do exist, she says. “But it’s incredibly expensive.”

PFAS contain strings of carbon atoms attached to fluorine atoms, which bind so tightly to one another they are nearly impossible to break apart. The compounds repel oil and water and can withstand friction and high temperatures, making them widely popular in industry. They accumulate in soils, water supplies, and even in living tissue. In the United States alone there are nearly 3000 PFAS-contaminated sites, from landfills to rivers and groundwater supplies. Numerous studies have shown they are toxic in minute quantities. The compounds have been implicated in kidney and liver cancer, thyroid disease, decreased immune response, and infant and fetal growth problems.

Communities around the world have tried to filter out these chemicals or destroy them. Merely filtering them out doesn’t do away with the problem, Stoiber notes, because if they are landfilled, the chemicals can later leach out. And current PFAS-destruction techniques, such as incineration, can require vast amounts of energy, superhigh temperatures, and millions of dollars.

Two years ago, researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hit on a better approach by chance. When they placed a PFAS compound in a common solvent called DMSO as part of a toxicity study, the PFAS compound began to degrade.

The new study builds on that work. Researchers led by William Dichtel and Brittany Trang, chemists at Northwestern University, studied numerous recipes involving DMSO. One combined a little bit of the solvent with sodium hydroxide, a common component of soap, in water. When the team heated the mix to boiling temperature, it readily degraded one of the largest subsets of PFAS compounds.

The PFAS compounds in question—used in fire-fighting foams and the production of nonstick coatings—contain a chemical group called a carboxylic acid, a small cluster of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms. Computer calculations by colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, revealed DMSO knocks off the carboxylic acid group. “Once that happens it causes the entire molecule to fall apart in a cascade of reactions,” Dichtel says.

What’s left behind, Trang says, is mostly easily captured fluorine ions, and a mixture of harmless, naturally occurring carbon and oxygen containing byproducts, her team reports today in Science.

Let me let you in on a secret: the ruling elite made global warming the center of the environmentalist movement, to the point where nothing else even matters. They’re doing paper straws, but all water still comes in plastic bottles. This PFAS thing – most people don’t even know what they are.

The reason global warming is the most important issue to these people is that they want to save these fossil fuels for the future. The elite want to kill off most of the global population – or at least force them into poverty, living in tiny apartments eating bugs with computer chips in their brains – then invade outer space. They know that the only real power source, at least for a hundred years, maybe several hundred years, is going to be fossil fuels. So they want to save them for future use.

So they tell you that using them is causing hurricanes and earthquakes.