Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the urban, industrial, and background atmosphere of Northeastern China coast around the Bohai Sea: Occurrence, partitioning, and seasonal variation


Air samples were collected using high-volume samplers at two coastal towns on the Bohai Sea in China, 320 km apart, and at a background site (North Huangcheng Island) in the Bohai Sea, 50 km from the coast. A suite of neutral and ionic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) was investigated. Urban activity was related to high levels of neutral PFASs at Tianjin while perfluorooctanoic carboxylic acid (PFOA) was dominant in the atmosphere at Weifang, possibly due to industrial sources. Polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid diesters (diPAPs) occurred in the particle phase only, with a total concentration range of 0.02–6.72 pg m−3. The dominant homologue was 6:2 diPAP. PFASs profiles at NHI suggested direct atmospheric transport of neutral and ionic PFASs from source regions. Temperature-dependent partitioning of fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) was observed in winter, when total concentrations and particle-phase fractions of FTOHs were significantly higher as compared to those in summer. Correlation analyses suggested more active gas-phase degradation of FTOHs in summer and likely heterogeneous degradation in both seasons. Overall, it is necessary to account for ionic PFASs in both gas and particle phases and particulate matter was important for atmospheric transport and for determining the fate of PFASs, especially in areas close to a source region.
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