Scientists cleaning their labs have discovered that a plain old sponge is surprisingly well suited to removing bisphenol A (BPA) from surfaces and equipment.

Photo Credit: Horia Varlan via flickr | CC BY 2.0

Via Chemistry World:

‘It was an accidental discovery,’ says Wei Qiu, from the University of Massachusetts, US, one of the researchers involved. ‘There was a big tank of waste BPA solution and while we were testing some other absorbent materials we accidentally dropped a sponge into the solution. We were curious and when we tested the waste solution we found a significant drop in BPA concentration and the only thing that could account for that drop was the sponge.’

BPA used to be ubiquitous in consumer plastics commonly found in products like water bottles. It's currently being phased out of the industrial process, but it still turns up in surprising places, and remains a significant environmental threat. Emma Cooper explains the common sponge's BPA-soaking mechanism – and its potential cleanup applications – at Chemistry World.


Contact the author at rtgonzalez@io9.com.

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