The Guardian reports that the researchers used a silica-based material that can absorb a wide range of "forever chemical" substances and that can even break them apart.

"Forever chemicals", also known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) belong to a large list of over 4.700 chemicals that don't occur naturally, and they are known as "forever chemicals" due to the fact that they don't decompose in nature.

Due to their non-stick or repellent properties, these are being used in cookware, food packaging, but even electronics and cosmetics.

Madjid Mohseni, a scientist who focuses on water quality and water treatment, said that "this is very exciting because we can target these difficult-to-break chemical bonds – and break them for good."

Amira Aker, a postdoctoral researcher at the Université Laval, pointed to the danger of PFAS, adding that "they attach to the proteins in our blood and can accumulate in our bodies, particularly in the liver and the kidneys. And the older you are, the more PFAS you have in your body."

While some people use water filters to clean the water they consume, researchers say that this method may not be as effective as they think. That's because water filters mostly use activated carbon, which is only able to target a certain class of PFAS.

Since this class was banned from production by authorities, chemical manufacturers started producing a different type of "forever chemical" substances which can bypass this filtering system, rendering it ineffective.

Thus, the silica-based system developed by those at the University of British Columbia could prove itself the better solution in this department, as it apparently catches a wider range of dangerous chemicals and decomposes them.

Mohensi's team now started rolling out a few pilot projects to demonstrate the capabilities of this filtering system, but experts say that its wider adoption won't be possible for a while.

Amira Aker added that "newer technologies are often costly or difficult to scale. Even if they’re not, it’s still hell trying to get cities to adopt these new technologies in order to remove these chemicals in the first place."