Nontargeted mass-spectral detection of chloroperfluoropolyether carboxylates in New Jersey soils

By John W. Washington, Charlita G. Rosal, James P. McCord, Mark J. Strynar, Andrew B. Lindstrom, Erica L. Bergman, Sandra M. Goodrow, Haile K. Tadesse, Andrew N. Pilant, Benjamin J. Washington, Mary J. Davis, Brittany G. Stuart, and Thomas M. Jenkins
June 10, 2020
DOI: 10.1126/science.aba7127

The toxicity and environmental persistence of anthropogenic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are of global concern. To address legacy PFAS concerns in the United States, industry developed numerous replacement PFAS that commonly are treated as confidential information. To investigate the distribution of PFAS in New Jersey, soils collected from across the state were subjected to nontargeted mass-spectral analyses. Ten chloroperfluoropolyether carboxylates were tentatively identified, with at least three congeners in all samples. Nine congeners are ≥(CF2)7. Distinct chemical formulas and structures, as well as geographic distribution, suggest airborne transport from an industrial source. Lighter congeners dispersed more widely than heavier congeners, with the most widely dispersed detected in an in-stock New Hampshire sample. Additional data were used to develop a legacy-PFAS fingerprint for historical PFAS sources in New Jersey.

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