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EVANSTON - Scientists say they have discovered a new method for breaking down PFAS compounds which has been hailed as a potential breakthrough in tackling environmental contamination.

PFAS, dubbed 'forever chemicals' for their durability in the environment, are linked with major health risks including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer.

Commonly used in water- and stain-proof coatings for garments, PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contaminate drinking water supplies and are believed to be in the blood of 98 per cent of Americans.

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