Environmental Factor – April 2022: PFAS water filters developed through NIEHS funding

A new filter cartridge compatible with Brita pitchers can remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water. CycloPure, Inc.’s Purefast cartridges are based on DEXORB+(https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/centers/srp/science_digest/2019/6/technology/index.cfm) Technology developed with support from a NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP). Small Business Innovation Research Grant(https://tools.niehs.nih.gov/srp/programs/Program_detail.cfm?Project_ID=R44ES029401).

“These $40 filters can provide up to 65 gallons of PFAS-free water and replace 700 single-use water bottles,” said Frank Cassou, CycloPure’s chief executive officer. The cartridges will be available in early April 2022.

“We hope this will be an affordable option for people concerned about PFAS exposure based on where they live or work,” he noted.

“Brita pitchers are accessible to a large demographic and don’t require an expert like a plumber to install,” Cassou noted. “It’s a simple way for us to provide safe and affordable drinking water.” (Photo courtesy of CycloPure)

“The purpose of the SRP Small Business Grants Program is to develop tools that improve people’s health,” said SRP Health Scientist Heather Henry, Ph.D., who directs the program. “CycloPure is doing just that. It is a remarkable achievement that just four years after they began promoting them, they have brought a product to market that can help communities reduce their exposure to PFAS.”

Efficient technology

DEXSORB+ uses renewable cup-shaped cyclodextrins derived from cornstarch to bind and remove all 40 PFAS targeted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PFAS roadmap.

“Our cyclodextrins are very small, 0.78 nanometers to be precise, and there are over 300 quintillion cyclodextrin cups in one gram of DEXSORB+,” explained Cassou. “This allows our technology to bind a variety of PFAS compounds faster and more efficiently than other filter materials such as activated carbon.”

On March 17th, the National Sanitary Foundation (NSF) International has certified this filter as efficient and safe for drinking water treatment and has approved its use for commercial purposes.

“The development of Purefast was a two-year process,” said Cassou. “We put Purefast through rigorous testing under a variety of conditions to ensure it performed within NSF’s PFAS limit of 70 parts per trillion. In the lab we confirmed that no PFAS was detected for 65 gallon water filtration.”

Illustrated example of how DEXSORB+ uses renewable cup-shaped cyclodextrins derived from cornstarch to bind and remove all 40 PFAS targeted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). CycloPure describes its technology as “nature’s science” because cyclodextrins are made from corn and are perfect for scavenging and removing small molecule contaminants. (Photo courtesy of CycloPure)

Prioritizing sustainability, healthy communities

“Sustainability is one of our top priorities,” said Cassou. “We work hard to ensure that all materials are properly and safely disposed of or reused.”

Each Purefast cartridge comes with a box and a stamped label to return the filter to Cyclopure’s laboratory, where the impurities are converted into salts and disposed of safely, without harming the environment.

In Cyclopure’s lab, DEXSORB+ can also be regenerated, allowing the team to reuse their technology for a variety of water filtration purposes.

Their team of experts works closely with communities across the US with high levels of PFAS contamination, regularly testing their drinking water supplies and communicating the results. One of their sister communities in Massachusetts recently purchased 3,000 units to bring clean drinking water to all of their city’s homes.

(Mali Velasco is a research and communications specialist at MDB Inc., a contractor to the NIEHS Superfund Research Program.)

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