What Type of Treatment Removes PFAS?
It is currently known that the following 3 treatment processes can be effective for the removal of PFAS in drinking water and wastewater.
- Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) - Filters made from raw organic materials (such as coconut shells or coal) that are high in carbon. Heat, in the absence of oxygen, is used to increase (activate) the surface area of the carbon; this is why these filters are sometimes referred to as “charcoal” filters. Granular activated carbon filters have been recognized as one of the cheapest and most effective technologies for reducing PFAS compounds from water. Spent activated carbon can be thermally reactivated, destroying more than 99.99% of the adsorbed PFAS contaminants and allowing the activated carbon to be recycled and reused.
- Ion Exchange (IX) Resins - Ion exchange is a reversible interchange of charged particles—or ions—with those of like charge. This occurs when ions present on an insoluble IX resin matrix swap places with ions of a similar charge that are present in a surrounding solution. The ion exchange process for PFAS removal is an efficient technology for the remediation of PFAS-laden surface, ground, and effluent wastewater. This approach is most effective at eliminating emerging short-chain PFAS which are not removed by carbon-based adsorption processes.
- High-Pressure Membrane Systems - Membrane filters act as a barrier to separate contaminants from water, and by removing particles that are contaminating the water. The main strength of membrane technology is that it works without the addition of chemicals, with relatively low energy use and easy and well-arranged process conductions. High-pressure membranes, such as nanofiltration or reverse osmosis, have been found to be extremely effective at removing PFAS.
Related Article: Can I Test my Drinking Water for PFAS?
How are PFAS Removed From the Body?
PFAS can be measured with a blood test. Your PFAS blood levels will tell you the amount of PFAS in your body and are determined by how much PFAS you have been exposed to (exposure), minus how much PFAS has left your body (excretion).
Some PFAS leave the body slowly over time through urine. People who have kidney disease may not excrete as much PFAS from their body through their urine as healthy individuals. PFAS also leaves the body in blood during menstruation. Women who menstruate may excrete more PFAS than those who do not. Other PFAS can leave the body in breast milk. Women who breastfeed may excrete more PFAS from their bodies than those who do not.
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