Sources, Fate and Transport of Perfluorocarboxylates

Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden.
Environmental Science and Technology (Impact Factor: 5.33). 02/2006; 40(1):32-44. DOI: 10.1021/es0512475
Source: PubMed


This review describes the sources, fate, and transport of perfluorocarboxylates (PFCAs) in the environment, with a specific focus on perfluorooctanoate (PFO). The global historical industry-wide emissions of total PFCAs from direct (manufacture, use, consumer products) and indirect (PFCA impurities and/or precursors) sources were estimated to be 3200-7300 tonnes. It was estimated that the majority (approximately 80%) of PFCAs have been released to the environment from fluoropolymer manufacture and use. Although indirect sources were estimated to be much less importantthan direct sources, there were larger uncertainties associated with the calculations for indirect sources. The physical-chemical properties of PFO (negligible vapor pressure, high solubility in water, and moderate sorption to solids) suggested that PFO would accumulate in surface waters. Estimated mass inventories of PFO in various environmental compartments confirmed that surface waters, especially oceans, contain the majority of PFO. The only environmental sinks for PFO were identified to be sediment burial and transport to the deep oceans, implying a long environmental residence time. Transport pathways for PFCAs in the environment were reviewed, and it was concluded that, in addition to atmospheric transport/degradation of precursors, atmospheric and ocean water transport of the PFCAs themselves could significantly contribute to their long-range transport. It was estimated that 2-12 tonnes/ year of PFO are transported to the Artic by oceanic transport, which is greater than the amount estimated to result from atmospheric transport/degradation of precursors.

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    • "PFOS salts are widely used in fire-fighting foams and metal plating (Wang et al., 2013; Moody and Field, 2000), while PFOA salts have their major application in the industrial production of fluoropolymers (Butenhoff et al., 2004; Post et al., 2012). Both compounds are also widely present in common consumer products (Prevedouros et al., 2006). The Danube River basin was chosen because abundant monitoring data are available for model evaluation for the main river and the tributaries from the 2013 Joint Danube Survey 3 (JDS3) (www. "
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    ABSTRACT: We present STREAM-EU (Spatially and Temporally Resolved Exposure Assessment Model for EUropean basins), a novel dynamic mass balance model for predicting the environmental fate of organic contaminants in river basins. STREAM-EU goes beyond the current state-of-the-science in that it can simulate spatially and temporally-resolved contaminant concentrations in all relevant environmental media (surface water, groundwater, snow, soil and sediments) at the river basin scale. The model can currently be applied to multiple organic contaminants in any river basin in Europe, but the model framework is adaptable to any river basin in any continent. We simulate the environmental fate of perfluoroctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the Danube River basin and compare model predictions to recent monitoring data. The model predicts PFOS and PFOA concentrations that agree well with measured concentrations for large stretches of the river. Disagreements between the model predictions and measurements in some river sections are shown to be useful indicators of unknown contamination sources to the river basin.
    Chemosphere 02/2016; 144:803-810. DOI:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2015.09.051 · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    • "Because PFOA is not consumed during the polymerization process, the remaining compound may be released into air and water (OECD, 2006). In 2006 it was estimated that 60% of the total released PFOA was emitted by fluoropolymer manufacturing and this amount was distributed in air, water, and land for 23%, 65%, and 12% respectively (Prevedouros et al., 2006). Few studies were carried out to assess the impact of fluoropolymer plants on the surrounding environment, but they generally focused on the distribution of the emitted PFASs into the different environmental compartments, especially air, groundwater and raw water resources (Davis et al., 2007; Dauchy et al., 2012) or neighboring residents blood (Bao et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: Effect-based monitoring is a recommended approach suggested in European Guidelines to assess the response of ecosystem affected by a pollution source, considering the effects at community, population, individual but also at suborganism level. A combined chemical, ecological and genetic approach was applied in order to assess the impact of a fluoropolymer plant on the macrobenthic community of the Northern Italian river Bormida (Piedmont region). The macrobenthic community living downstream of the industrial discharge was chronically exposed to a mixture of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), with perfluorooctanoic acid as the main compound, at concentrations up to several μgL(-1). Ecological assessment proved that the downstream community was not substantially different from that living upstream of the pollution source. The impact on community is not quantifiable with the traditional monitoring methods used for ecological classification under European regulation because macrobenthic communities showed only slight differences in their structure. In order to highlight effects on genetic variability of the native population, a subcellular analysis by using the AFLP (Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism) genetic technique was applied to genotype of individuals of a selected species (Hydropsyche modesta, Trichoptera) collected in the two sampling sites. Percentage of variation between the two populations was 6.8%, a threshold compatible with a genetic drift induced in the downstream population. The genetic study carried out in field identified a significant divergence between exposed and non-exposed populations, but at present it is not possible to associate this divergence to a specific effect induced by PFAS. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Science of The Total Environment 12/2015; 538:654-663. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.086 · 4.10 Impact Factor
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    • "Both PFOA and PFOS are present as impurities in many consumer products and are both degradation products of a wide range of precursors also used in consumer products (Prevedouros et al., 2006). Efforts have been made to quantify PFOS and PFOA source emissions (Prevedouros et al., 2006; Paul et al., 2009; Wang et al., 2014). These studies conclude that the most significant emission sources of PFOA on a global basis are of industrial origin (Valsecchi et al., 2014) while PFOS has multiple emission sources resulting from the use and disposal of diversified products (Paul et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Novel approaches for estimating the emissions of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to surface waters are explored. The Danube River catchment is used to investigate emissions contributing to riverine loads of PFOS and PFOA and to verify the accuracy of estimates using a catchment-scale dynamic fugacity-based chemical transport and fate model (STREAM-EU; Spatially and Temporally Resolved Exposure Assessment Model for European basins). Model accuracy evaluation performed by comparing STREAM-EU predicted concentrations and monitoring data for the Danube and its tributaries shows that the best estimates for PFOS and PFOA emissions in the Danube region are obtained by considering the combined contributions of human population, wealth (based on local gross domestic product (GDP)) and wastewater treatment. Human population alone cannot explain the levels of PFOS and PFOA found in the Danube catchment waters. Introducing wealth distribution information in the form of local GDPs improves emission estimates markedly, likely by better representing emissions resulting from consumer trends, industrial and commercial sources. For compounds such as PFOS and PFOA, whose main sink and transport media is the aquatic compartment, a major source to freshwater are wastewater treatment plants. Introducing wastewater treatment information in the emission estimations also further improves emission estimates.
    Environmental Pollution 09/2015; 207:97-106. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2015.08.050 · 4.14 Impact Factor
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