BPA exists in everything from water bottles to DVDs. But it acts as an oestrogen mimic, so can interfere with hormonal processes and medications in the body. Earlier this year, the European Chemicals Agency identified BPA as a ‘substance of very high concern’. Landfilled products release BPA into the surrounding environment so BPA pollution is now common. Contaminated water can transfer BPA to fresh produce and wildlife, intensifying the problem.
While several methods for removing BPA from wastewater exist, Terrence Collins and Matthew DeNardo at Carnegie Mellon University, and their colleagues have developed a system that DeNardo describes as simpler and less costly.
The system removes BPA from water using oxidative elimination, causing BPA to clump together into oligomers that can be filtered from the water.
David Feldman, an endocrinology expert at Stanford University in the US, says that since his work 25 years ago, which found BPA leaching from plastic lab equipment, little progress has been made on removing BPA from the environment.