Novel and legacy poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in indoor dust from urban, industrial, and e-waste dismantling areas: The emergence of PFAS alternatives in China
By Bo Zhang, Yuan He, Yingyan Huang, Danhong Hong, Yiming Yao, Lei Wang, Wenwen Sun,
April 6, 2020
With the phase out of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the composition profiles of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) in our living environment are unclear. In this study, 25 PFASs were analyzed in indoor dust samples collected from urban, industrial, and e-waste dismantling areas in China. PFOS alternatives, including 6:2 chlorinated polyfluorinated ether sulfonate (6:2 Cl-PFESA) (median: 5.52 ng/g) and 8:2 chlorinated polyfluorinated ether sulfonate (8:2 Cl-PFESA) (1.81 ng/g), were frequently detected. By contrast, PFOA alternatives, such as hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HPFO-DA, Gen-X) and ammonium 4,8-dioxa-3H-perfluorononanoate (ADONA), were not found in any of the dust samples. As expected, all legacy PFASs were widely observed in indoor dust, and 4 PFAS precursors were also detected. Dust concentrations of 6:2 Cl-PFESA were strongly correlated (p < 0.05) with those of 8:2 Cl-PFESA regardless of sampling sites. 6:2 Cl-PFESA was also significantly associated with that of PFOS in industrial and e-waste (p < 0.01) areas. Association analysis suggested that the sources of PFOS and its alternatives are common or related. Although ∑Cl-PFESA concentration was lower than that of PFOS (17.4 ng/g), industrial areas had the highest 6:2 Cl-PFESA/PFOS ratio (0.63). Composition profiles of PFASs in the industrial area showed the forefront of fluorine change. Thus, the present findings suggested that Cl-PFESAs are widely used as PFOS alternatives in China, and high levels of human Cl-PFESA exposure are expected in the future. Short-chain PFASs (C4–C7) were the predominant PFASs found in dust samples, contributing to over 40% of ∑total PFASs. Furthermore, perfluoro-1-butanesulfonate/PFOS and perfluoro-n-butanoic acid (PFBA)/PFOA ratios were 2.8 and 0.72, respectively. These findings suggested shifting to the short-chain PFASs in the environment in China. To the authors knowledge this is the first study to document the levels of 6:2 Cl-PFESA, 8:2 Cl-PFESA in indoor dust.