A Review on Removal and Destruction of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by Novel Membranes

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A Review on Removal and Destruction of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) by Novel Membranes

Authors: Suman Das and Avner Ronen

Abstract: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic chemicals consisting of thousands of individual species. PFAS consists of a fully or partly fluorinated carbon–fluorine bond, which is hard to break and requires a high amount of energy (536 kJ/mole). Resulting from their unique hydrophobic/oleophobic nature and their chemical and mechanical stability, they are highly resistant to thermal, chemical, and biological degradation. PFAS have been used extensively worldwide since the 1940s in various products such as non-stick household items, food-packaging, cosmetics, electronics, and firefighting foams. Exposure to PFAS may lead to health issues such as hormonal imbalances, a compromised immune system, cancer, fertility disorders, and adverse effects on fetal growth and learning ability in children. To date, very few novel membrane approaches have been reported effective in removing and destroying PFAS. Therefore, this article provides a critical review of PFAS treatment and removal approaches by membrane separation systems. We discuss recently reported novel and effective membrane techniques for PFAS separation and include a detailed discussion of parameters affecting PFAS membrane separation and destruction. Moreover, an estimation of cost analysis is also included for each treatment technology. Additionally, since the PFAS treatment technology is still growing, we have incorporated several future directions for efficient PFAS treatment.

Keywords: PFAS; nanofiltration; reverse osmosis; novel membranes; hybrid membranes; coupled technology.

Also available for download in MDPI (open access).