2014-10-10 -- PFAA/PFOS/PFOA in drinking water
PFAA-pollutions in drinking water
For those who have been following the Swedish news, it has been hard to avoid the latest debate and news regarding detection of PFAA in several Swedish drinking water sources. The primary source is believed to be an old, and nowadays prohibited, firefighting foam.
We have been contacted by several drinking water plants who have measured elevated PFAA levels in their water and we are now looking for solution together.
Vad är PFAA?
PFAA, perfluorinated alkyl acids, are a group of fluorinated organic compounds which create smooth surfaces which are water, fat and dirt resistant. These substances are, among other places, used in industrial processes and in products as preservatives, lubricants, paints and foams. The two subjects in the PFAA group much discussed are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Both PFOS and PFOA is known as PBT (persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic), which means that they are chronically toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative. The topics will for a long time to come be, accumulate and poison the environment.
The use of PFOS has declined in recent years, but they have largely been replaced by other highly fluorinated substances. Some of these, such as fluorotelomer alcohols, can slowly degrade to PFOA.
PFOA has a negative effect on the reproductive organs and is suspected to be carcinogenic to humans, and is also rated as very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) and therefore tacked on EU candidate list of substances of very high concern (Substances of Very High Concern).
What is the Solution?
PFAA / PFOS / PFOA can be reduced or completely removed by various methods:
To break down PFAA compounds in water one typically needs stronger than "ordinary" oxidants.
Advanced oxidation techniques, combining different oxidants, have proven to be effective with the right mixing technique. Combination of for example ozone and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and / or special catalysts raises the oxidation potential which enables the degradation of PFOS / PFOA.
Reverse osmosis (RO) is a simple and traditional purification method already used in many water treatment systems.
Our RENA RO systems can easily remove the contaminants before it is delivered to the households in the affected municipalities. The technology used is reverse osmosis, which easily separates salts from water and also makes this method suitable for that reduction of PFAA-pollutants in drinking water.
Learn more about reverse osmosis (RO) here.