Ultra-Short-Chain Perfluoroalkyl Acids Including Trifluoromethane Sulfonic Acid in Water Connected to Known and Suspected Point Sources in Sweden

By Maria K. Björnsdotter, Leo W. Y. Yeung, Anna Kärrman, and Ingrid Ericson Jogsten
Environ Sci Technol.
December 4, 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b02211

Data presenting the environmental occurrence of ultra-short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are scarce and little is known about the potential sources. In this study, ultra-short-chain PFAAs were analyzed in water connected to potential point sources using supercritical fluid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry. Samples (n = 34) were collected in connection with firefighting training sites, landfills, and a hazardous waste management facility. Ultra-short-chain PFAAs were detected in all samples at concentrations up to 84 000 ng/L (∑C1–C3), representing up to 69% of the concentration of 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), perfluoropropanoic acid (PFPrA), trifluoromethane sulfonic acid (TFMS), perfluoroethane sulfonic acid (PFEtS), and perfluoropropane sulfonic acid (PFPrS) were detected at concentrations up to 14 000, 53 000, 940, 1700, and 15 000 ng/L, respectively. Principal component analysis suggests that TFA is associated with landfills. PFPrS was associated with samples collected close to the source at all types of sites included in this study. These findings reveal the presence of high concentrations of ultra-short-chain PFAAs released into the environment from various sources and emphasize the large fraction of ultra-short-chain PFAAs to the total concentration of PFASs in water.

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