2022 journal article
Utilizing Pine Needles to Temporally and Spatially Profile Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
Environmental Science & Technology, 2.
As concerns over exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are continually increasing, novel methods to monitor their presence and modifications are greatly needed, as some have known toxic and bioaccumulative characteristics while most have unknown effects. This task however is not simple, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) CompTox PFAS list contains more than 9000 substances as of September 2020 with additional substances added continually. Nontargeted analyses are therefore crucial to investigating the presence of this immense list of possible PFAS. Here, we utilized archived and field-sampled pine needles as widely available passive samplers and a novel nontargeted, multidimensional analytical method coupling liquid chromatography, ion mobility spectrometry, and mass spectrometry (LC-IMS-MS) to evaluate the temporal and spatial presence of numerous PFAS. Over 70 PFAS were detected in the pine needles from this study, including both traditionally monitored legacy perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and their emerging replacements such as chlorinated derivatives, ultrashort chain PFAAs, perfluoroalkyl ether acids including hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, "GenX") and Nafion byproduct 2, and a cyclic perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) analog. Results from this study provide critical insight related to PFAS transport, contamination, and reduction efforts over the past six decades.