Atmospheric particulate represents a source of C8–C12 perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and 10:2 fluorotelomer alcohol in tree bark

By Zhao, Nan, Meirong Zhao, Weiping Liu, and Hangbiao Jin
Environ. Poll.
January 18, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116475

In this study, we analyzed 30 legacy and emerging poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in paired atmospheric particulate and bark samples collected around a Chinese fluorochemical manufacturing park (FMP), with the aim to explore the sources of PFASs in tree bark. The results showed that PFASs in atmospheric particulate and tree bark samples were consistently dominated by perfluorooctanoate (mean 73 ng/g; 44 pg/m3), perfluorohexanoate (47 ng/g; 36 pg/m3), perfluorononanoate (9.1 ng/g; 8.8 pg/m3), and 10:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (10:2 FTOH; 5.6 ng/g; 12 pg/m3). Spatially, concentrations of C8–C12 perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) and 10:2 FTOH all showed a similar and exponentially decreased trend in both bark and atmospheric particulate samples with the increasing distance from the FMP. For the first time, we observed strongly significant (Spearman’s correlation coefficient = 0.53–0.79, p < 0.01) correlations between bark and atmospheric particulate concentrations for C8–C12 PFCAs and 10:2 FTOH over 1–2 orders of magnitude, suggesting that the continues trapping of atmospheric particulates resulted in the accumulation of these compounds in bark. Overall, this study provides the first evidence that atmospheric particulate is an obvious source of C8–C12 PFCAs and 10:2 FTOH in tree bark. This result may further contribute to the application of tree bark as an indicator of certain PFASs in atmospheric particulate.


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