Higgins gives insight into drinking water contamination

Colorado School of Mines Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Chris Higgins was recently interviewed for an article in Chemical Engineering News on how polymers can help remove contaminants from drinking water. The article, "Polymer network captures drinking water contaminant," focuses on how cross-linked cyclodextrin removes perfluorinated  chemical PFOA from water. 

From the story:

To purge these perfluorinated chemicals from water, engineers primarily use granular activated carbon as an adsorbent.

Other options for removing these compounds include reverse osmosis, which is much more expensive than activated carbon, and anion-exchange resins, which are still at the experimental stage for this application, according to Christopher P. Higgins, an environmental engineer at the Colorado School of Mines.
Now Dichtel, Damian E. Helbling of Cornell University, and colleagues have developed an alternative adsorbent: a cross-linked cyclodextrin polymer with much higher affinity for PFOA than activated carbon. 

Higgins, who was not involved in the study, calls it “really important,” especially if it can be adapted to treat other compounds like PFOS—something the team is now testing. “It’s certainly going to help us move forward with alternative technologies for water treatment of these compounds,” he says.