What is a Persistent and Mobile Substance?

Chemicals that do not degrade in the environment, “forever chemicals” and “persistent chemicals”, are increasingly recognised as a global threat.

They are now ubiquitous in drinking water and in human blood of the global population. They are very difficult remove once in the environment and the sources of our drinking water. They are often transported over vast distances. Persistent and mobile chemicals can be found in the most remote places, including the Mariana Trench and in the blood of Arctic animals such as polar bears. Without action, their presence will only increase and accumulate.

Chemicals that are persistent have until recently been targeted by regulation only if they are also accumulating in living organisms (bioaccumulation). Recently, though, it has been recognized that persistent chemicals that remain in the water phase and thereby can move over wide distances (mobility) are equally problematic.

Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

The combination of persistence and mobility makes it difficult to remove such chemicals during drinking water production, at sewage treatment plants or though natural processes like bio degradation and groundwater filtration. Persistent and mobile chemicals remain in drinking water even after purification. They are found in aquifers and can waterways even in the most remote areas of the planet, threatening the few, truly pristine water sources we have left. This project is about building on the existing knowledge base and find solutions to how to reduce the presence of these persistent and mobile (PM) chemicals in the environment. We will prevent their emissions, prioritize the most urgent ones to address and remove them from the environment. Welcome to ZeroPM!