Characterization of Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances Present in Commercial Anti-fog Products and Their Adipogenic Activity
By Nicholas J Herkert, Christopher D Kassotis, Sharon Zhang, Yuling Han, Vivek Francis Pulikkal, Mei Sun, P Lee Ferguson, and Heather M Stapleton
Environ Sci Technol
January 10, 2022
Anti-fog sprays and solutions are used on eyeglasses to minimize the condensation of water vapor, particularly while wearing a mask. Given their water-repellent properties, we sought to characterize per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFAS) compounds in four anti-fog spray products, five anti-fog cloth products, and two commercial fluorosurfactant formulations suspected to be used in preparing anti-fog products. Fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and fluorotelomer ethoxylates (FTEOs) were detected in all products and formulations. While 6:2 FTOH and the 6:2 FTEO polymeric series were predominant, one anti-fog cloth and one formulation contained 8:2, 10:2, 12:2, 14:2, and 16:2 FTOH and FTEO polymeric series. PFAS concentrations varied in samples and were detected at levels up to 25,000 μg/mL in anti-fog sprays and 185,000 μg (g cloth) in anti-fog cloth products. The total organic fluorine (TOF) measurements of anti-fog products ranged from 190 to 20,700 μg/mL in sprays and 44,200 to 131,500 μg (g cloth) in cloths. Quantified FTOHs and FTEOs accounted for 1-99% of TOF mass. In addition, all four anti-fog sprays and both commercial formulations exhibited significant cytotoxicity and adipogenic activity (either triglyceride accumulation and/or pre-adipocyte proliferation) in murine 3T3-L1 cells. Results suggest that FTEOs are a significant contributor to the adipogenic activity exhibited by the anti-fog sprays. Altogether, these results suggest that FTEOs are present in commercial products at toxicologically relevant levels, and more research is needed to fully understand the health risks from using these PFAS-containing products.