Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Dust Collected from Residential Homes and Fire Stations in North America

By Samantha M Hall, Sharyle Patton, Myrto Petreas, Sharon Zhang, Allison L Phillips, Kate Hoffman, and Heather M Stapleton
Environ Sci Technol
November 10, 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c04869

Over the past few years, human exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has garnered increased attention. Research has focused on PFAS exposure via drinking water and diet, and fewer studies have focused on exposure in the indoor environment. To support more research on the latter exposure pathway, we conducted a study to evaluate PFAS in indoor dust. Dust samples from 184 homes in North Carolina and 49 fire stations across the United States and Canada were collected and analyzed for a suite of PFAS using liquid and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and di-polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid esters (diPAPs) were the most prevalent PFAS in both fire station and house dust samples, with medians of approximately 100 ng/g dust or greater. Notably, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonate, perfluorononanoic acid, and 6:2 diPAP were significantly higher in dust from fire stations than from homes, and 8:2 FTOH was significantly higher in homes than in fire stations. Additionally, when comparing our results to earlier published values, we see that perfluoroalkyl acid levels in residential dust appear to decrease over time, particularly for PFOA and PFOS. These results highlight a need to better understand what factors contribute to PFAS levels in dust and to understand how much dust contributes to overall human PFAS exposure.

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