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IT participates in a project that aims to mitigate environmental and human health risks from PFAS contamination

by IT on 22-04-2024
Project Earth Day PFAS Pollution Environment Health Ecosystem Biodiversity Climate change Optical sensors AI Nanotechnology

On the day Earth Day is celebrated, it is important to remember that there is no alternative, that there is no planet B. For this very reason, science has joined this mission of contributing to reducing the impact of pollution on the planet. We highlight the ALERT-PFAS project, or Transnational Strategy to Detect and Prevent PFAS Pollution.

Climate change increases hot and dry conditions that increase the number of fires, as well as their intensity, in the SUDOE area. The 2022 fires in rural inland areas especially affected natural parks and other protected areas. As these are more aggressive fires, the use of firefighting foams containing flame retardants has increased.

These foams contain PFAS (perfluoroalkylated and polyfluoroalkylated substances), “eternal compounds” that are highly persistent, mobile, and harmful to the environment and health. The degradation of PFAS in soil and water integrates these compounds into the water cycle, creating fluorinated gases that are emitted into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming and climate change. On the other hand, the degradation of gases in the atmosphere leads to water and soil pollution through acid rain, resulting in a cycle of environmental pollution.

The main objective of ALERT-PFAS is to design and implement a transnational strategy to detect and prevent PFAS pollution in SUDOE natural spaces, as well as mitigate its effects on ecosystem biodiversity and climate change. The project offers an innovative solution to detect and monitor PFAS in real time and prevent them from becoming part of the water cycle, contaminating the air, soil, and water. The pilot actions will be developed in natural parks or protected areas in Portugal, Spain, and France, affected by the recent fires. ALERT-PFAS also aims to train and raise awareness of all key actors in the value chain, including the general public.

The project partnership is made up of 10 beneficiaries and 9 associates from the 3 SUDOE countries, who will contribute their complementary skills. ALERT-PFAS will apply innovative technologies, such as optical sensors, adsorption and degradation processes, polymeric materials, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence. The solution, transferable to all regions of the SUDOE area, is aimed at public authorities, entities managing natural parks, water managers, organizations for extinguishing fires, and civil protection, among others.


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