PFAS, a group of manufactured chemicals commonly used since the 1940s, are called “forever chemicals” for a reason. Bacteria can’t eat them; fire can’t incinerate them; and water can’t dilute them. And, if these toxic chemicals are buried, they leach into surrounding soil, becoming a persistent problem for generations to come. Now, Northwestern University chemists have done the seemingly impossible. Using low temperatures and inexpensive, common reagents, the research team developed a process that causes two major classes of PFAS compounds to fall apart, leaving behind only benign end products.