Atmospheric diffusion of perfluoroalkyl acids emitted from fluorochemical industry and its associated health risks.
By Pei Wang, Meng Zhang, Qifeng Li, and Yonglong Lu
December 8, 2020
The fluorochemical industry is an important emission source of atmospheric perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs). In this study, air samples were collected through active high-volume air samplers coupled with Tissuquartz™ filters around a fluorochemical manufacturer, and analyzed for PFAAs levels. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was dominant with concentrations as high as 9730 pg/m, followed by short chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs). The PFAAs in the air were compared to those measured in outdoor dust and rain collected in the same area. Short chain PFCAs had a greater distribution in air, while PFOA was more distributed in dust and rain. With increasing concentrations, a significant decreasing trend for PFOA was observed in rain (P < 0.05). The estimated daily intake (EDI) of PFOA via indoor air inhalation by five age groups were calculated in two scenarios, and compared to the strictest tolerable daily intake (TDI) of PFOA (≤0.63 ng/kg bw/day). Potential health risk occurred in the best-case scenario, while the EDI from the worst-case scenario was comparable to that via indoor dust ingestion, indicating a notable health risk. This suggests that in terms of PFOA exposure and health risks, air inhalation may be as important as dust ingestion. These results highlight the impacts of PFAAs emissions from the fluorochemical industry to the atmosphere and ultimately, human health.