Purdue University will receive just under $1 million in grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency for research on reducing a group of synthetic chemicals in wastewater.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals are found in a variety of consumer and industrial products such as cookware and water-, grease-, or stain-resistant clothing. They have also been used in food service, and they have been found in water supplies around Indiana military bases that have used PFAS-based firefighting foam.
Prolonged exposure to PFAS can be dangerous for humans, potentially resulting in liver damage, developmental problems in children and kidney cancer. Many people are exposed to PFAS chemicals through local water supplies, but they have also been found in landfills, soil and solid waste, among other locations.
With the funds, Purdue plans to conduct a study that will evaluate the “technical and economic feasibility of using a specific two-treatment approach consisting of nanofiltration followed by electrochemical oxidation,” according to a press release from the EPA.
The EPA awarded a total of nearly $6 million in PFAS research grants to eight institutions, including Purdue. The grants were awarded as part of the EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, which outlines potential short-term and long-term solutions for PFAS contamination.
Purdue is the only institution in Indiana to receive a grant. Other recipients include the New York State Department of Health, Clemson University, Texas A&M, and the University of Florida.