Paints: A Source of Volatile PFAS in Air - Potential Implications for Inhalation Exposure

By Liliana Cahuas, Derek J Muensterman, Mitchell L Kim-Fu, Patrick N Reardon, Ivan A Titaley, and Jennifer A Field
Environ Sci Technol
November 11, 2022
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.2c04864

Paints are widely used in indoor settings yet there are no data for volatile per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for paints or knowledge if paints are potentially important sources of human exposure to PFAS. Different commercial paints (n = 27) were collected from local hardware stores and analyzed for volatile PFAS by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), nonvolatile PFAS by liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-qTOF), and total fluorine by 19F nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Diluted paint required clean up to remove 6:2 fluorotelomer phosphate diester (diPAP), which thermally transforms into 6:2 FTOH at 280 °C (GC inlet temperature). Only 6:2 FTOH (0.9–83 μg/g) and 6:2 diPAP (0.073–58 μg/g) were found in five exterior and nine interior paints and only accounted for a maximum of 17% of total fluorine. Upon drying, 40% of the FTOH mass was lost, and the loss was verified by measurements of the cumulative FTOH mass measured in the air of a small, confined space over a 3 h period. Based on the liquid paint results, the ConsExpo model was used for potential exposure assessment and one commercial paint exceeded the chosen reference dose (5 μg/kg-day) for children and adults, indicating the potential for human exposure during painting.


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