Screening of textile finishing agents available on the Chinese market: An important source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to the environment

By Mehvish Mumtaz, Yixiang Bao, Wenchao Li, Lingxiao Kong, Jun Huang, and Gang Yu
Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering
July 15, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s11783-019-1145-0


Organofluorinated surfactants are widely employed in textile finishing agents (TFAs) to achieve oil, water, and stain repellency. This has been regarded as an important emission source of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to the environment. China is the biggest manufacturer of clothes, and thus TFA production is also a relevant industrial activity. Nevertheless, to date, no survey has been conducted on PFAS contents in commercially available TFAs. In the present study, TFA products were investigated by the Kendrick mass defect method. The quantification results demonstrated a significant presence of perfluorooctane sulfonate (0.37 mg/L) in TFAs manufactured by electrochemical fluorination technology. The products obtained by short-chain PFAS-based telomerization were dominated by perfluorooctanoic acid (mean concentration: 0.29 mg/L), whose values exceeded the limits stated in the European Chemical Agency guidelines (0.025 mg/L). Moreover, the total oxidizable precursor assay indicated high levels of indirectly quantified precursors with long alkyl chains (C7-C9). Together, these results suggest that there is currently a certain of environmental and health risks in China that originates from the utilization of TFAs, and a better manufacturing processes are required to reduce such risks.

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