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
via Google News
The Latest on: Heavy metals
- Abby Lee Miller Shares Photo of Shaved Head & Spinal Surgery Scar One Year After Cancer Diagnosis on April 17, 2019 at 8:47 pm
“One year ago today ~ I underwent emergency surgery for an infection in my spine. This mass/tumor choking my spinal cord turned out to be Burkitt Lymphoma,” Abby writes. “I endured ten rounds of chemo ... […]
- ‘Jeopardy’ host Alex Trebek plans to return in September, despite cancer diagnosis on April 17, 2019 at 7:44 pm
“Jeopardy” is readying for its summer break, but longtime host Alex Trebek, who is battling pancreatic cancer, said he looks forward to returning to the popular TV game show September. “I look forward ... […]
- WATCH: ‘Jeopardy’ host Alex Trebek gives update on his progress after pancreatic cancer diagnosis. ‘I’m touched beyond words.’ on April 17, 2019 at 6:37 pm
When Alex Trebek announced in March that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, “Jeopardy!" fans rallied to support him. Trebek vowed to stay on the job, even as he sought treatment — ... […]
- After cancer diagnosis, Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek wraps up 35th season on April 17, 2019 at 5:34 pm
After his cancer diagnosis, Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek wrapped up taping shows for the 35th season of the show. Trebek has hosted 50 episodes of Jeopardy! since he was diagnosed with stage 4 ... […]
- Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek Gives Health Update Following Cancer Diagnosis: 'I'm Feeling Good' on April 17, 2019 at 2:55 pm
Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek shocked the world last month when he announced he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. On Wednesday, after wrapping Season 35 of the show, he offered fans an ... […]
- 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek says he's 'feeling good,' thankful for outpouring of support following cancer diagnosis on April 17, 2019 at 1:51 pm
(WXYZ) — "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is "feeling good" following his diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which he announced on March 6. The famed quiz-show host posted an update video on the last ... […]
- New study targets Achilles' heel of pancreatic cancer, with promising results on April 17, 2019 at 10:02 am
Advanced pancreatic cancer is often symptomless, leading to late diagnosis only after metastases have spread throughout the body. Additionally, tumor cells are encased in a "protective shield," a ... […]
- LL Cool J wanted to give wife fibula bone following cancer diagnosis on April 17, 2019 at 7:00 am
LL Cool J wanted to give his wife his fibula bone when she was diagnosed with cancer. The 51-year-old rapper - who's real name is James Todd Smith - has opened up about his wife, Simon Smith's, battle ... […]
- After a cancer diagnosis at 30 'shook her world' this P.E.I. woman wants to spread hope on April 16, 2019 at 4:09 pm
P.E.I. native Michelle Fuller was first diagnosed with cancer in 1999 at the age of 30, when she had surgery to remove her right eye, her cheekbone and part of the roof of her mouth. She's telling her ... […]
via Bing News