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Since the 1940s, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — more commonly known as PFAS — have been leaching into the soil, the groundwater, and our bodies. PFAS pollution is now so widespread that the chemicals are estimated to be present in 99 percent of Americans’ bloodstreams. Researchers have even found them in the bodies of polar bears…
After spending a year and a half trying to engineer a solution to this PFAS problem, Wong reported an unexpected breakthrough. In a paper published last month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, he and his team of researchers found that boron nitride — also known as BN and commonly used in cosmetics and electronics — could destroy up to 99 percent of a type of PFAS called PFOA in about four hours.Associated journal article: Lijie Duan, Bo Wang, Kimberly Heck, Sujin Guo, Chelsea A. Clark, Jacob Arredondo, Minghao Wang, Thomas P. Senftle, Paul Westerhoff, Xianghua Wen, Yonghui Song, and Michael S. Wong (2020). “Efficient Photocatalytic PFOA Degradation over Boron Nitride.” Environmental Science & Technology Letters Article ASAP