Sorption, Aerobic Biodegradation, and Oxidation Potential of PFOS Alternatives Chlorinated Polyfluoroalkyl Ether Sulfonic Acids.Environ Sci Technol. 2018 09 04; 52(17):9827-9834.ES
Global phase out of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) has led to increasing production of alternatives such as the chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonic acids (Cl-PFESAs) for which little is known on their environmental fate. In this study, sorption by soils, aerobic soil biodegradation, and oxidation potential of 6:2 Cl-PFESA (9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanonane-1-sulfonate) and 8:2 Cl-PFESA (9-chlorooctadecafluoro-3-oxanonane-1-sulfonate) were evaluated. 6:2 Cl-PFESA sorption was quantified for aqueous and acetone/water solutions, whereas 8:2 PFESA could only be accurately measured in acetone/water solutions. The log-linear cosolvency model was applied and validated to estimate sorption of 8:2 Cl-PFESA. Only soil organic carbon (OC, 0.76-4.30%) was highly and positively correlated to sorption of the Cl-PFESAs (R2 > 0.96). The resulting log Koc values (OC-normalized sorption coefficients) are 4.01 ± 0.09 (n = 6) and 5.54 ± 0.05 (n = 4) L kg-1 for 6:2 Cl-PFESA and 8:2 Cl-PFESA, respectively. Aerobic biodegradation in a loam soil at 24 ± 0.5 °C showed negligible degradation of both Cl-PFESAs. Cl-PFESAs also remained unchanged in an unbuffered heat (50 °C)-activated 42 mM persulfate oxidation treatment. Therefore, Cl-PFESAs are equally recalcitrant as PFOS in addition to being more sorptive, thus with a higher bioaccumulation potential for a similar alkyl chain length.