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High-Resolution Atmospheric Modeling of Fluorotelomer Alcohols and Perfluorocarboxylic Acids in the North American Troposphere

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journal contribution
posted on 15.08.2007, 00:00 authored by Greg Yarwood, Susan Kemball-Cook, Michael Keinath, Robert L. Waterland, Stephen H. Korzeniowski, Robert C. Buck, Mark H. Russell, Stephen T. Washburn
A high spatial and temporal resolution atmospheric model is used to evaluate the potential contribution of fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) and perfluorocarboxylate (PFCA) emissions associated with the manufacture, use, and disposal of DuPont fluorotelomer-based products in North America to air concentrations of FTOH, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) in North America and the Canadian Arctic. A bottom-up emission inventory for PFCAs and FTOHs was developed from sales and product composition data. A detailed FTOH atmospheric degradation mechanism was developed to simulate FTOH degradation to PFCAs and model atmospheric transport of PFCAs and FTOHs. Modeled PFCA yields from FTOH degradation agree with experimental smog-chamber results supporting the degradation mechanism used. Estimated PFCA and FTOH air concentrations and PFCA deposition fluxes are compared to monitoring data and previous global modeling. Predicted FTOH air concentrations are generally in agreement with available monitoring data. Overall emissions from the global fluorotelomer industry are estimated to contribute approximately 1−2% of the PFCAs in North American rainfall, consistent with previous global emissions estimates. Emission calculations and modeling results indicate that atmospheric inputs of PFCAs in North America from fluorotelomer-based products will decline by an order of magnitude in the near future as a result of current industry commitments to reduce manufacturing emissions and lower the residual fluorotelomer alcohol raw material and trace PFCA product content.