Polyfluorinated compounds in ambient air from ship- and land-based measurements in northern Germany


Neutral volatile and semi-volatile polyfluorinated organic compounds (PFC) and ionic perfluorinated compounds were determined in air samples collected at two sites in the vicinity of Hamburg, Germany, and onboard the German research vessel Atair during a cruise in the German Bight, North Sea, in early November 2007. PUF/XAD-2/PUF cartridges and glass fiber filters as sampling media were applied to collect several fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOH), fluorotelomer acrylates (FTA), perfluoroalkyl sulfonamides (FASA), and perfluoroalkyl sulfonamido ethanols (FASE) in the gas- and particle-phase as well as a set of perfluorinated carboxylates (PFCA) and sulfonates (PFSA) in the particle-phase. This study presents the distribution of PFC in ambient air of the German North Sea and in the vicinity of Hamburg for the first time. Average total PFC concentrations in and around Hamburg (180 pg m−3) were higher than those observed in the German Bight (80 pg m−3). In the German Bight, minimum–maximum gas-phase concentrations of 17–82 pg m−3 for ΣFTOH, 2.6–10 pg m−3 for ΣFTA, 10–15 pg m−3 for ΣFASA, and 2–4.4 pg m−3 for ΣFASE were determined. In the vicinity of Hamburg, minimum–maximum gas-phase concentrations of 32–204 pg m−3 for ΣFTOH, 3–26 pg m−3 for ΣFTA, 3–18 pg m−3 for ΣFASA, and 2–15 pg m−3 for ΣFASE were detected. Concentrations of perfluorinated acids were in the range of 1–11 pg m−3. FTOH clearly dominated the substance spectrum; 8:2 FTOH occurred in maximum proportions. Air mass back trajectories, cluster, and correlation analyses revealed that the air mass origin and thus medium to long range atmospheric transport was the governing parameter for the amount of PFC in ambient air. Southwesterly located source regions seemed to be responsible for elevated PFC concentrations, local sources appeared to be of minor importance.
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