Characterizing Fluorotelomer and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in New and Aged Fluorotelomer-Based Polymers for Degradation Studies with GC/MS and LC/MS/MS
Washington, J., J. Naile, T. Jenkins, AND D. Lynch. Characterizing Fluorotelomer and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in New and Aged Fluorotelomer-Based Polymers for Degradation Studies with GC/MS and LC/MS/MS. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY. American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 48(10):5762-5769, (2014).
Article published in Environmental Science and Technology.
Fluorotelomer-based polymers (FTPs), the dominant product of the fluorotelomer industry, are antistaining and antiwetting agents that permeate the products and surfaces of modern society. However, the degree to which these materials expose humans and the environment to fluorotelomer and perfluorinated compounds, including recalcitrant and toxic compounds such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is ill-defined. The design intent of FTPs, to minimize interaction with other substances, including solvents, heretofore has stymied efforts to develop robust methods to characterize the content of monomers and associated compounds of new commercial FTPs, as well as commercial FTPs that have been aged in environmental media for degradation testing. Here we show that FTPs can be exhausted of these compounds and quantitated by (i) drying the FTP on a suitable substrate at elevated temperature to achieve low, constant monomer concentrations; (ii) serial extraction with MTBE for fluorotelomer-monomer analysis by GC/MS in PCI mode; followed by (iii) serial extraction with 90/10 ACN/H2O for polyfluorocompound analysis by LC/MS/MS in negative ESI mode. This approach yields exhaustive, internally consistent accounting of monomers and associated compounds for FTPs, either alone or in a soil matrix (representing an environmental medium), for both new and simulated-aged FTPs to allow degradation testing, and for fluorinated compounds at least as long as C12.