Environmental Factors – April 2022: PFAS water filter developed through NIEHS funding


A new filter cartridge compatible with Brita tanks removes perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from drinking water. CycloPure, Inc.’s Purefast filters are based on Desob+(https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/supported/centers/srp/science_digest/2019/6/technology/index.cfm) The technology was developed with support from the 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, replacing 700 single-use water bottles,” said CycloPure CEO Frank Casu. These 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.

Woman filling jug with filtered water “The Brita pitcher is available to a large population and doesn’t require an expert like a plumber to install,” Cassou noted. “This allows us to easily provide safe and affordable drinking water.” (Photo courtesy of CycloPure)

“The purpose of the SRP Small Business Grants Program is to create tools that improve people’s health,” said Dr. Heather Henry, SRP Health Scientist Administrator who oversees the program. “CycloPure does just that. It’s an amazing achievement, and just four years after their funding began, they’ve launched a product that can help communities reduce their exposure to PFAS.”

Efficient technology

DEXSORB+ uses renewable cup-shaped cyclodextrin derived from cornstarch to bind and remove all 40 PFAS regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PFAS Roadmap.

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

March 17, National Health Foundation (NSF) International certified this filter as effective and safe for drinking water treatment and approved it for commercial use.

“Purefast was developed over two years,” Cassou said. “We rigorously tested Purefast under various conditions to ensure performance was within the NSF’s PFAS limit of 70 parts per trillion. In the lab, we confirmed zero PFAS detection for 65 gallons of water filtration.”

Illustration of how DEXSORB+ binds and removes all 40 PFAS targeted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using renewable cup-shaped cyclodextrins derived from cornstarch CycloPure describes their technology as “natural science” because cyclodextrins are made from corn and are ideal for capturing and removing small molecule pollutants. (Photo courtesy of CycloPure)

Prioritize sustainable, healthy communities

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

Each Purefast filter element comes with a packaging and prepaid label that returns the filter to Cyclopure’s laboratory, where contaminants are converted to 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 United States with high levels of PFAS contamination, regularly testing their drinking water supplies and communicating the results. They recently purchased 3,000 units in a cooperative community in Massachusetts to provide safe drinking water to all households in their town.

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

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