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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Mar;21(6):4634-42. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-2389-z. Epub 2013 Dec 19.

Stability of 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate in advanced oxidation processes: degradation kinetics and pathway.

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  • 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control (SKJLESPC), School of Environment, POPs Research Center, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, People's Republic of China.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), a widely used mist suppressant in hard chrome electroplating industry, has been listed in the Stockholm Convention for global ban. 6:2 Fluorotelomer sulfonate (6:2 FTS) acid and salts have been adopted as alternative products in the market, but no data about their abiotic degradation has been reported. In the present study, the degradability of 6:2 FTS potassium salt (6:2 FTS-K) was evaluated under various advanced oxidation processes, including ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, UV with hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), alkaline ozonation (O3, pH = 11), peroxone (O3/H2O2), and Fenton reagent oxidation (Fe(2+)/H2O2). UV/H2O2 was found to be the most effective approach, where the degradation of 6:2 FTS-K followed the pseudo-first-order kinetics. The intermediates were mainly shorter chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acid (C7 to C2), while sulfate (SO4 (2-)) and fluoride (F(-)) were found to be the final products. The high yields of SO4 (2-) and F(-) indicate that 6:2 FTS-K can be nearly completely desulfonated and defluorinated under UV/H2O2 condition. The degradation should firstly begin with the substitution of hydrogen atom by hydroxyl radicals, followed by desulfonation, carboxylation, and sequential "flake off" of CF2 unit. Compared with PFOS which is inert in most advanced oxidation processes, 6:2 FTS-K is more degradable as the alternative.

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