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Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Exhibit Greater Interfacial Activity than PFOA, PFOS, or FOSA

Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020, 54, 21, 13590–13597
Publication Date (Web):September 23, 2020
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society

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Perfluoroalkyl acids spontaneously concentrate at air–water and non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL)–water interfaces, which can influence their retention during subsurface transport. This work presents measurements of air– and NAPL–water interfacial tension for synthetic groundwater containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanesulfonamide (FOSA), or aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) formulations at concentrations ranging from 0.1 to greater than 1000 mg/L. The NAPLs tested included dodecane, tetrachloroethylene, and jet fuel. AFFF formulations were less efficient at lowering interfacial tension than PFOA, FPOS, or FOSA substances below 100 mg/L, while above 100 mg/L, these formulations were more effective, achieving tensions of less than 3 mN/m. Infiltration of solutions with such low tension could lead to mobilization of residual NAPL. Equations based on interfacial tension measurements show that concentrations of PFOA, PFOS, and FOSA at the air–water interface were from 2 to 16 times greater than at the NAPL–water interface below 100 mg/L and were 10–50 times greater for AFFF below 20 mg/L. Calculations for unsaturated soil estimate that up to 87% of PFOS mass was at the air–water interface and less than 4% at the dodecane–water interface for bulk-water concentrations below 1 mg/L.

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  • Application of the Freundlich equation to fit interfacial tension curves; use of mean ionic activity in place of concentration to fit interfacial tension measurements; dissociation of perfluorooctanoate salts; and the distribution of PFOA, PFOS, or FOSA in unsaturated soils with entrapped dodecane (PDF)

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Cited By

This article is cited by 16 publications.

  1. Bo Guo, Hassan Saleem, Mark L. Brusseau. Predicting Interfacial Tension and Adsorption at Fluid–Fluid Interfaces for Mixtures of PFAS and/or Hydrocarbon Surfactants. Environmental Science & Technology 2023, 57 (21) , 8044-8052.
  2. John F. Stults, Youn Jeong Choi, Cooper Rockwell, Charles E. Schaefer, Dung D. Nguyen, Detlef R. U. Knappe, Tissa H. Illangasekare, Christopher P. Higgins. Predicting Concentration- and Ionic-Strength-Dependent Air–Water Interfacial Partitioning Parameters of PFASs Using Quantitative Structure–Property Relationships (QSPRs). Environmental Science & Technology 2023, 57 (13) , 5203-5215.
  3. Shuchi Liao, Masoud Arshadi, Matthew J. Woodcock, Zachary S. S. L. Saleeba, Dorothea Pinchbeck, Chen Liu, Natalie L. Cápiro, Linda M. Abriola, Kurt D. Pennell. Influence of Residual Nonaqueous-Phase Liquids (NAPLs) on the Transport and Retention of Perfluoroalkyl Substances. Environmental Science & Technology 2022, 56 (12) , 7976-7985.
  4. John F. Stults, Youn Jeong Choi, Charles E. Schaefer, Tissa H. Illangasekare, Christopher P. Higgins. Estimation of Transport Parameters of Perfluoroalkyl Acids (PFAAs) in Unsaturated Porous Media: Critical Experimental and Modeling Improvements. Environmental Science & Technology 2022, 56 (12) , 7963-7975.
  5. Sophia D. Steffens, Emily K. Cook, David L. Sedlak, Lisa Alvarez-Cohen. Under-reporting Potential of Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) under High-Ionic Strength Conditions. Environmental Science & Technology Letters 2021, 8 (12) , 1032-1037.
  6. Yihan Zhang, Zimu Song, Kosuke Sugita, Shan Xue, Wen Zhang. Impacts of Nanobubbles in Pore Water on Heavy Metal Pollutant Release from Contaminated Soil Columns. Nanomaterials 2023, 13 (10) , 1671.
  7. Rai S. Kookana, Divina A. Navarro, Shervin Kabiri, Mike J. McLaughlin, . Key properties governing sorption–desorption behaviour of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances in saturated and unsaturated soils: a review. Soil Research 2023, 61 (2) , 107-125.
  8. Yun Deng, Fei Wang, Liangying Liu, Da Chen, Ying Guo, Zhe Li. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Wristbands as Personal Passive Samplers Monitoring Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) Exposure to Postgraduate Students. Journal of Hazardous Materials 2022, 47 , 130652.
  9. Zhen Zhao, Jie Li, Xianming Zhang, Leien Wang, Jamin Wang, Tian Lin. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in groundwater: current understandings and challenges to overcome. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 2022, 29 (33) , 49513-49533.
  10. David T. Adamson, Poonam R. Kulkarni, Anastasia Nickerson, Christopher P. Higgins, Jennifer Field, Trever Schwichtenberg, Charles Newell, John J. Kornuc. Characterization of relevant site-specific PFAS fate and transport processes at multiple AFFF sites. Environmental Advances 2022, 7 , 100167.
  11. Bo Guo, Jicai Zeng, Mark L. Brusseau, Yonggen Zhang. A screening model for quantifying PFAS leaching in the vadose zone and mass discharge to groundwater. Advances in Water Resources 2022, 160 , 104102.
  12. Jicai Zeng, Mark L. Brusseau, Bo Guo. Model validation and analyses of parameter sensitivity and uncertainty for modeling long-term retention and leaching of PFAS in the vadose zone. Journal of Hydrology 2021, 603 , 127172.
  13. Jianlong Wang, Robert K. Niven. Unification of surface tension isotherms of PFOA or GenX salts in electrolyte solutions by mean ionic activity. Chemosphere 2021, 280 , 130715.
  14. Jicai Zeng, Bo Guo. Multidimensional simulation of PFAS transport and leaching in the vadose zone: Impact of surfactant-induced flow and subsurface heterogeneities. Advances in Water Resources 2021, 155 , 104015.
  15. Avram J. Frankel. On Per‐ and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances : Suggested Resources and Considerations for Groundwater Professionals. Groundwater 2021, 59 (4) , 481-487.
  16. Shuchi Liao, Zachary Saleeba, J. Daniel Bryant, Linda M. Abriola, Kurt D. Pennell. Influence of aqueous film forming foams on the solubility and mobilization of non-aqueous phase liquid contaminants in quartz sands. Water Research 2021, 195 , 116975.

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