PFAS Levels in Organic Waste Used as Fertilizer

  • Author: ChemistryViews
  • Published: 29 October 2021
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH GmbH
  • Source / Publisher: Environmental Science & Technology/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: PFAS Levels in Organic Waste Used as Fertilizer

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been produced in large amounts for, e.g., non-stick coatings, water-repellant fabrics, and firefighting foams. However, these highly stable "forever chemicals" have been detected throughout the environment, prompting toxicity concerns.


Although the production of the most concerning PFAS has been banned or voluntarily phased out in many countries, the compounds linger in the environment. Also, some have been replaced with other PFAS that have uncertain environmental and health effects. Humans and livestock can ingest PFAS and excrete them in their waste, and the compounds could leach into wastewater. When waste is applied to agricultural fields as fertilizer, PFAS could contaminate groundwater and accumulate in the crops.


Sébastien Sauvé, Université de Montréal, Canada, and colleagues have characterized multiple classes of PFAS in contemporary and historical organic waste products that were applied to French agricultural lands, including livestock manures, urban sewage sludges, composts, and industrial wastes. The researchers selected 47 samples of organic waste products intended for field application, collected in France from 1976 to 2018 via a network of long-term field experiments. The team analyzed extracts of the samples for PFAS using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (UHPLC-HRMS).


Over 90 % of the samples contained at least one PFAS, with up to 113 compounds detected in a single sample. The team detected fewer types and lower levels of PFAS in livestock manures than in wastes of urban origin. In the urban wastes, they detected high levels of PFAS compounds that are not commonly monitored, suggesting that previous studies may have underestimated total PFAS levels. Older urban samples contained higher levels of phased-out PFAS, while newer urban samples were dominated by zwitterionic fluorotelomers.


 

 

Article Views: 2274

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH