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Decades-Scale Degradation of Commercial, Side-Chain, Fluorotelomer-Based Polymers in Soils and Water
Washington, J., T. Jenkins, K. Rankin, AND J. Naile. Decades-Scale Degradation of Commercial, Side-Chain, Fluorotelomer-Based Polymers in Soils and Water. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Indianapolis, IN, 49(2):915-923, (2015).
Article published in the journal, Environmental Science and Technology
Fluorotelomer-based polymers (FTPs) are a primary product of the jluorotelomer industry, yet the role of commercial FTPs in degrading to form perjluorocarboxylic acids (P FCAs), including perjluorooctanoic acid, and P FCA precursors, remains ill-defined. Here we report on a 376-day study of the degradability of two commercial acrylate-linked FTPs in four saturated soils and in water. Using an exhaustive serial extraction, we report GCIMS and LCIMSIMS analytical results for 50 fluorinated species. Quantitative modeling of seven sampling rounds, each consisting of replicate microcosm treatments, for one commercial FTP in one soil yielded half-life estimates of 65 to 112 years and, when the other commercial FTP and soils were evaluated, the estimated half-life range for both commercial FTPs in all four saturated soils ranged from 3 3 to 112 years. Experimental controls, consisting of commercial FTP in de-ionized water, degraded roughly at the same rate as in the soils. A follow-up experiment, with FTP in water buffered at pH= I 0, degraded roughly ten-fold faster than the circum-neutral control suggesting that commercial FTPs can undergo abiotic OR—mediated hydrolysis. 8:2 Fluorotelomer alcohol generated from FTP degradation in soil was much more stable than without FTP present suggesting a clathrate guest-host association with the FTP.