Occurrence and source apportionment of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in the atmosphere in China

Han, Deming; Ma, Yingge; Huang, Cheng; Zhang, Xufeng; Xu, Hao; Zhou, Yong; Liang, Shan; Chen, Xiaojia; Huang, Xiqian; Liao, Haoxiang; Fu, Shuang; Hu, Xue; Cheng, Jinping

Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are a form of toxic pollutant that can be transported across the globe and accumulated in the bodies of wildlife and humans. A nationwide geographical investigation considering atmospheric PFAAs via a passive air sampler (PAS) based on XAD (a styrene–divinylbenzene copolymer) was conducted in 23 different provinces/municipalities/autonomous regions in China, which provides an excellent chance to investigate their occurrences, spatial trends, and potential sources. The total atmospheric concentrations of 13 PFAAs (inline-formulan=268) were 6.19–292.57 pg minline-formula−3, with an average value of inline-formula39.84±28.08 pg minline-formula−3, which were higher than other urban levels but lower than point source measurements. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was the dominant PFAA (20.6 %), followed by perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFPeA). An increasing seasonal trend of PFAA concentrations was shown as summer inline-formula< autumn inline-formula< spring inline-formula< winter, which may be initiated by stagnant meteorological conditions. Spatially, the content of PFAAs displayed a declining gradient trend of central China inline-formula> northern China inline-formula> eastern China inline-formula> north-eastern China inline-formula> south-western China inline-formula> north-western China inline-formula> southern China, and Henan contributed the largest proportion of PFAAs. Four sources of PFAAs were identified using a positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, including PFOS-based products (26.1 %), products based on PFOA and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA; 36.6 %), degradation products of fluorotelomer-based products (15.5 %), and an unknown source (21.8 %).

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Han, Deming / Ma, Yingge / Huang, Cheng / et al: Occurrence and source apportionment of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in the atmosphere in China. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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