James Johnson and Danielle Nachman in APL’s PFAS research laboratory.

Eliminating Forever Chemicals

Our Contribution

A Clean, Cost-Effective Method to Eliminate PFAS in Water

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of some 5,000 artificial chemicals commonly found in water, household items, food packaging, firefighting foams, and a plethora of other industrial applications. They’re also, consequently, found in wildlife and human beings. Their tendency to linger indefinitely in the environment without degrading has earned PFAS the label “forever chemicals.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has declared PFAS an urgent public health and environmental issue facing communities across the United States. Scientists from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory are developing several technologies to capture and destroy these “forever chemicals.”

The APL team has demonstrated an enhanced filtration technique to capture PFAS and an ecofriendly way to destroy them. Together with a previously published electrochemical destruction technique, APL is building a portfolio of technologies aiming to enable full PFAS remediation.

Destroying PFAS "Forever Chemicals"

The most popular PFAS destruction method used commercially today is incineration, which requires extremely high temperatures and high-energy input, is expensive and can release PFAS compounds back into the environment. APL’s destruction methods are designed to operate at or near room temperature, without the use of harsh chemicals or environments.

Leslie Hamilton Materials Science Engineer
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