Widespread Occurrence of Non-Extractable Fluorine in Artificial Turfs from Stockholm, Sweden

By Mélanie Lauria, Ayman Naim, Merle Plassmann, Jenny Fäldt, Roxana Sühring, and Jonathan Benskin
Analytical Chemistry
April 19, 2022
DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-2rr6h D O I: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-2rr6h [opens in a new tab]

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are frequently used in the production of rubber and plastic, but little is known about the identity, concentration, or prevalence of PFAS in these products. In this study, a representative sample of plastic- and rubber-containing artificial turf (AT) fields from Stockholm, Sweden, were subjected to total fluorine (TF), extractable organic fluorine (EOF) and target PFAS analysis. TF was observed in all 51 AT samples (range: 16-313, 12-310, and 24-661 µg F/g in backing, filling, and blades, respectively), while EOF and target PFAS occurred in <42% of all samples (<200 and <1 ng F/g, respectively). A subset of samples extracted with water confirmed the absence of fluoride. Moreover, application of the total oxidizable precursor assay revealed negligible perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) formation across all three sample types, indicating that the fluorinated substance(s) in AT are not low molecular weight PFAA-precursors. Collectively, these results point towards polymeric organofluorine (e.g. fluoroelastomer, polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride), consistent with patent literature. The combination of poor extractability and recalcitrance towards advanced oxidation suggests that the fluorine in AT does not pose an imminent risk to users. However, concerns remain surrounding the production and end-of-life of ATs, as well as the contribution of filling to environmental microplastic contamination.


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