Should you worry about PFAS?

Yes, but hopefully not for long.

PFAS are synthetic compounds that are characterized by the presence of one or more carbon-fluoride group and have been massively introduced in the environment since the 1950s.

Their desirable properties, such as thermal stability and water and oil repellence, made them the #1 compound for the manufacturing of many consumer goods (personal care products, Teflon, firefighting foams, waterproof coatings for clothes, agrochemicals, paint, photographic films…)

To date, more than 8000 different PFAS molecules have been synthesized, all characterized by strong C-F bonds that are difficult to break. Due to the wide variety of structures, their persistence, bioaccumulation tendencies and harmful effects on health and the environment, PFAS have recently been defined as top priority pollutants.

Exposure to PFAS can come from drinking water, river water, wastewater, landfills, food, air, and marine ecosystems where these compounds have been identified, causing a plethora of diseases which include cancer.

Removal of PFAS from the environment is difficult, but not impossible. Methods currently used include physical and chemical techniques, which are effective but expensive, in terms of energetical and economical resources.

In addition to physicochemical techniques, it is possible to research the complete degradation of these compounds through the biological activity of living organisms: this approach is called bioremediation and would represent a convenient, ecological, and sustainable solution.

Bioremediation of PFAS in nature is rare but known to happen.

At Orvion, we work for the implementation of PFAS biodegradation methods, that could help gain more insights on the conditions and bacteria required for breaking down these compounds or can be used to treat PFAS polluted sites.

Subscribe to our LinkedIN page, we will regularly post our findings on PFAS biodegradation.

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