Predicting Concentration- and Ionic-Strength-Dependent Air-Water Interfacial Partitioning Parameters of PFASs Using Quantitative Structure-Property Relationships (QSPRs)
Stults, J. F., Choi, Y. J., Rockwell, C., Schaefer, C. E., Nguyen, D. D., Knappe, D. R. U., … Higgins, C. P. (2023, March 24). ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY.
Air-water interfacial retention of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is increasingly recognized as an important environmental process. Herein, column transport experiments were used to measure air-water interfacial partitioning values for several perfluoroalkyl ethers and for PFASs derived from aqueous film-forming foam, while batch experiments were used to determine equilibrium Kia data for compounds exhibiting evidence of rate-limited partitioning. Experimental results suggest a Freundlich isotherm best describes PFAS air-water partitioning at environmentally relevant concentrations (101-106 ng/L). A multiparameter regression analysis for Kia prediction was performed for the 15 PFASs for which equilibrium Kia values were determined, assessing 246 possible combinations of 8 physicochemical and system properties. Quantitative structure-property relationships (QSPRs) based on three to four parameters provided predictions of high accuracy without model overparameterization. Two QSPRs (R2 values of 0.92 and 0.83) were developed using an assumed average Freundlich n value of 0.65 and validated across a range of relevant concentrations for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (i.e., GenX). A mass action model was further modified to account for the changing ionic strength on PFAS air-water interfacial sorption. The final result was two distinct QSPRs for estimating PFAS air-water interfacial partitioning across a range of aqueous concentrations and ionic strengths.