Researchers have shown for the first time that activated carbon – a substance widely used in water purification – can help eliminate the health risks associated with soils, sediments and surface water polluted by highly toxic dioxins.
Activated carbon is produced when materials with high carbon concentrations, such as coal, wood, peat or even coconut shell, undergo special treatment processes that expose them to extremely high temperatures without burning them. The result is a porous, highly adsorptive substance that binds easily with organic toxins. When mixed into contaminated soil or sediment, the activated carbon draws dioxin to it and sequesters it. Activated carbon, estimated to cost approximately $75,000 per hectare, would be significantly cheaper than conventional dredging and land filling methods, which are estimated at $15 million for an equivalent operation.
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