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The newly developed technology — known as ‘ionic fluorogel’ — is years in the making, and aims to unseat existing technologies that are less effective. Granular Activated Carbon, or GAC, is the filter of choice for many water treatment plants, as it covers a wide spectrum of contaminants. But Frank Leibfarth, a chemist and researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill, said it’s not perfect. “When you’ve put an initial amount of water into granular activated carbon, it absorbs organic matter and PFAS,” he explained. “But as it starts to become saturated and there’s more organic matter there, it will actually kick off some PFAS from binding sites and kind of put it back into the water.”