Concentration profiles of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in major sources to the environment

By Kavitha Dasu, Xiaoyan Xia, Dinusha Siriwardena, Theodore P. Klupinski, and Brannon Seay
J. Environ. Manage.
October 12, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113879

A review of published literature was conducted to present the concentrations and composition profiles of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from significant sources to the environment. The major sources of PFAS to the environment are categorized under direct and indirect sources. The characteristic compounds and concentrations are summarized as found from direct sources such as manufacturing facilities, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) applications, metal coating operations, and textile and paper coating operations; and from indirect sources such as landfills and wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). The major findings are: 1) among the aqueous matrices for which data were reviewed, groundwater impacted by AFFF contamination showed the highest median concentrations for both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), while the second-highest median concentrations were associated with landfill leachates for PFOA and metal-plating sources for PFOS; 2) many of the unknown polyfluorinated precursors present in AFFF-impacted sites could potentially convert to persistent PFAS by abiotic or biotic transformation, and therefore could act as the long-term source of contamination to the environment; 3) part per billion (ppb) concentrations of PFAS were detected in water bodies surrounding fluorochemical manufacturing plants; 4) in consumer products such as textile, paper, and personal care products, PFOA concentrations were an order of magnitude higher compared to other PFAS; 5) biotransformation products such as fluorotelomer carboxylic acids (FTCAs) and perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are detected in landfill leachates and WWTP effluents; and 6) many studies have shown increased PFAA concentrations in WWTP effluents compared to influents. This work provides a comprehensive review of the literature on the PFAS concentration and composition trends of select non-polymeric PFAS in different sources.


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