EPFL chemists have developed a new material that can remove heavy metals from water and make it drinkable in seconds.
The study is published in ACS Central Science.
According to the World Health Organization almost 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, and that number is expected to increase with climate change. Meanwhile, our endlessly rising energy needs and use of heavy metals in industrial processes have maximized our exposure to toxic materials in water.
Current commercial methods to remove heavy metals including lead from municipal drinking water tend to be costly and energy-consuming, without being sufficiently efficient. Less conventional approaches might be more efficient, but are single-use, difficult to regenerate, or produce significant toxic waste as a side-product.
Now, the lab of Professor Wendy Lee Queen at EPFL, with colleagues at the University of California Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found a solution using metal organic frameworks (MOFs), which are materials made up of metal nodes interlinked by organic chemical ‘struts’. Their unprecedented internal surface areas and easy chemical tunability allow MOFs to “pull” water vapor and other gases from air. These same features make them promising materials also for selectively removing heavy metals from water.
A PhD student at EPFL-Valais, Daniel T. Sun, has designed a water-stable MOF/polymer composite using cheap, environmentally and biologically friendly materials. The scientists treated a MOF, known as Fe-BTC, with dopamine, which polymerized to polydopamine (PDA) pinning the polymer inside the MOF. The final composite, named Fe-BTC/PDA, can quickly and selectively remove high amounts of heavy metals like lead and mercury from real-world water samples. In fact, it can remove over 1.6 times its own weight of mercury and 0.4 times of its weight of lead.
Fe-BTC/PDA was then tested in solutions as toxic as some of the worst water samples found in Flint, Michigan. The tests showed that the MOF can, in a matter of seconds, reduce lead concentrations to 2 parts per billion, a level that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization deem drinkable.
The scientists also removed lead from various real-world water samples obtained from the Rhone River, the Mediterranean Sea, and a wastewater treatment plant in Switzerland. They also showed how the material could be regenerated easily.
There are multiple sources of exposure to toxic heavy metals. For example, lead is used in paint, ceramic glazes, jewelry, toys, and pipes. Considering this, the approach with the new MOF shows much promise for solving current limitations of water-cleaning systems. The authors of the study are now testing other new specially designed MOFs to remove other types of trace contaminants in water and air.
Learn more: Removing heavy metals from water
The Latest on: Heavy metals
[google_news title=”” keyword=”cancer diagnosis” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Heavy metals
- A 24-year-old says she 'ignored' her bloating and stomach pain until it got so bad she went to the ER. Doctors diagnosed her with ovarian cancer.
- Woman with terminal cancer says ‘negative’ smear test three years before diagnosis showed signson January 26, 2023 at 10:21 pm
A mother-of-two with terminal cervical cancer says a ‘negative’ smear test from three years before her diagnosis showed signs of cancer. Lisa Stannard, 52, says the failure to diagnose her cancer ...
- Woman diagnosed with cervical cancer after thinking it was endometriosison January 26, 2023 at 9:39 pm
A woman who suspected she had endometriosis found out that she had cervical cancer after experiencing symptoms for six months. Sarah Carey, 40, was experiencing stomach cramps and heavy bleeding after ...
- Michael Bublé reveals son's cancer diagnosis forced him to drop 'alter ego'on January 26, 2023 at 5:09 pm
In an interview with Red magazine, the Haven't Met You Yet singer reflected on how his life shifted when Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2016 when he was only three years old. "That, of course ...
- Loyalty card data could help to identify ovarian cancer symptoms sooneron January 26, 2023 at 8:00 am
Loyalty card data on over-the-counter medicine purchases could help spot ovarian cancer cases earlier according to a Cancer Research UK study.
- Woman diagnosed with breast cancer after trip to Sainsbury’son January 26, 2023 at 3:51 am
Helen Bullen, 55, received a letter regarding a routine mammogram in June 2021, but was unsure whether she should go ...
- Cervical cancer: Four symptoms and what to do if you spot themon January 26, 2023 at 1:53 am
According to Cancer Research, one in 142 women in the UK will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in their lifetime. The survival rates of cervical cancer are improved and have in the last 40 years in ...
- Michael Bublé says son’s cancer diagnosis ‘changed me in a big way’on January 26, 2023 at 1:17 am
Michael Bublé says his son’s “unthinkable” battle with cancer forced him to lose his “alter-ego.” The croon After intense treatment on the then-3-year-old, Noah was finally on the mend the following ...
- Opinion: Nonsmokers can get lung cancer, too. I'm one. A persistent cough led to my own diagnosis.on January 25, 2023 at 1:24 pm
It's more important than ever to support doctors, researchers and all who are involved in the business of fighting disease.
via Bing News