Fluorine Mass Balance Analysis and Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in the Atmosphere
By Huiju Lin, Sachi Taniyasu, Eriko Yamazaki, Rongben Wu, Paul KS Lam, Heesoo Eun, and Nobuyoshi Yamashita
J. Hazard. Mater.
May 17, 2022
Given that only a small number of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are routinely monitored, levels of PFAS in the atmosphere may be underestimated. A protocol including analyses of target PFAS (n = 50), water-soluble fluoride, and total fluorine has been proposed and applied to atmospheric samples. The whole method recovery (including extraction recovery and sampling efficiency) of 90–110% were obtained for the majority of compounds (48/50) with low deviations between replicates (< 20%). Fluorotelomer alcohols were the most prevalent PFAS in the indoor air, while the outdoor air was dominated by the ultrashort-chain ionic PFAS (e.g., trifluoroacetic acid and perfluoropropanoic acid). Concentrations of organofluorine (OF) compounds calculated from the fluorine mass balance ranged from 1.74 ng F/m3 to 14.3 ng F/m3 and from 52.0 ng F/m3 to 1100 ng F/m3 in the particulate and gaseous phases, respectively, whereas only a minor proportion (around 1%) could be explained by target PFAS. In indoor air, OF compounds were observed in relatively high levels and with a shift to the fine particles (PM<1) . Our results reveal a large proportion of unidentified OF signatures in the atmosphere and suggest the need to use multiple approaches to improve our understanding of airborne fluorinated substances.
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