Legacy and emerging airborne per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) collected on PM2.5 filters in close proximity to a fluoropolymer manufacturing facility

By Jiaqi Zhou, Karsten Baumann, Jason D Surratt, and Barbara J Turpin
Environ Sci Process Impacts
November 9, 2022
DOI: 10.1039/D2EM00358A

Large fluoropolymer manufacturing facilities are major known sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), many of which accumulate in groundwater, surface water, crops, wildlife, and people. Prior studies have measured high PFAS concentrations in groundwater, drinking water, soil, as well as dry and wet deposition near fluoropolymer facilities; however, much less is known about near-source PFAS air concentrations. We measured airborne PFAS on PM2.5 filters in close proximity to a major fluoropolymer manufacturing facility (Chemours' Fayetteville Works) located near Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA. Weekly PM2.5 filter samples collected over a six-month field campaign using high-volume air samplers at locations 3.7 km apart, north-northeast and south-southwest of the facility were analyzed for thirty-four targeted ionic PFAS species by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Twelve emerging and ten legacy PFAS compounds were detected. Thirteen PFAS were found at higher concentrations in these nearfield samples than at regional background sites, suggesting a local source for these compounds. Five emerging and five legacy PFAS compounds had maximum concentrations exceeding 1 pg m−3. PFBA, PFHxA, PFHxDA, PFOS, PMPA, NVHOS, PFO5DoA, and Nafion BP1 contributed the most to the total (legacy + emerging) PFAS concentration (86%). Six PFAS, specifically PFBA, PFOS, PFO5DoA, Nafion BP1, Nafion BP2, and Nafion BP4, provide a consistent representative profile of elevated species across the two sites (with detection frequency >50%). To our knowledge, this is the first study to report both legacy and emerging ionic PFAS in air in close proximity to a U.S. fluoropolymer manufacturing facility.


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