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Transformation of Polyfluorinated compounds in natural waters by advanced oxidation processes

Anumol, Tarun, Dagnino, Sonia, Vandervort, Darcy R., Snyder, Shane A.
Chemosphere 2016 v.144 pp. 1780-1787
adverse effects, alcohols, bioaccumulation, carboxylic acids, drinking water, humans, intermediate product, oxidation, ozone, perfluorocarbons, risk, volatilization, water reuse, wildlife
The presence of perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) in source and finished drinking waters is a concern with studies showing bioaccumulation and adverse toxicological effects in wildlife and potentially humans. Per/Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) such as fluorotelomer alcohols have been identified as precursors for PFCAs in biological pathways. In this study, we investigated the fate of 6:2 and 8:2 homologues of the fluorotelomer unsaturated carboxylic acids (FTUCAs) during advanced oxidation process (AOPs). Results showed 6:2 FTUCA and 8:2 FTUCA transformed into 6-C PFCA (PFHxA) and 8-C PFCA (PFOA) respectively with very little other PFCA formation for all AOPs. The degradation of 6:2 FTUCA and 8:2 FTUCA was greater in the GW compared to SW for the ozone processes but similar for UV/H2O2. The formation of n-C PFCA followed O3>O3/H2O2 at same dose and UV/H2O2 had much lower formation at the doses tested. Non-targeted analysis with the LC–MS-qTOF indicated the production of other PFCAs which contribute to the total mass balance, although no intermediate product was discovered indicating a rapid and direct transformation from the FTUCAs to the PFCAs and/or significant volatilization of intermediates. With the use of AOPs essential to water reuse treatment schemes, this work raises concerns over the risk of potential formation of PFCAs in the treatment and their adverse health effects in finished drinking water.