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      Emission of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from a Waste-to-Energy Plant—Occurrence in Ashes, Treated Process Water, and First Observation in Flue Gas

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          Abstract

          Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a large group of compounds commonly used as industrial chemicals and constituents of consumer products, e.g., as surfactants and surface protectors. When products containing PFASs reach their end of life, some end up in waste streams sent to waste-to-energy (WtE) plants. However, the fate of PFASs in WtE processes is largely unknown, as is their potential to enter the environment via ash, gypsum, treated process water, and flue gas. This study forms part of a comprehensive investigation of the occurrence and distribution of PFASs in WtE residues. Sampling was performed during incineration of two different waste mixes: normal municipal solid waste incineration (MSWI) and incineration of a waste mix with 5–8 wt % sewage sludge added to the MSWI (referred to as Sludge:MSWI). PFASs were identified in all examined residues, with short-chain (C4–C7) perfluorocarboxylic acids being the most abundant. Total levels of extractable PFASs were higher during Sludge:MSWI than during MSWI, with the total annual release estimated to be 47 and 13 g, respectively. Furthermore, PFASs were detected in flue gas for the first time (4.0–5.6 ng m –3). Our results demonstrate that some PFASs are not fully degraded by the high temperatures during WtE conversion and can be emitted from the plant via ash, gypsum, treated process water, and flue gas.

          Abstract

          Minimal research exists on the fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in waste-to-energy processes. This study, the first of its kind, depicts a snapshot of the presence of PFASs in waste-to-energy residues.

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          An overview of the uses of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

          Systematic description of more than 200 uses of PFAS and the individual substances associated with each of them (over 1400 PFAS in total). Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are of concern because of their high persistence (or that of their degradation products) and their impacts on human and environmental health that are known or can be deduced from some well-studied PFAS. Currently, many different PFAS (on the order of several thousands) are used in a wide range of applications, and there is no comprehensive source of information on the many individual substances and their functions in different applications. Here we provide a broad overview of many use categories where PFAS have been employed and for which function; we also specify which PFAS have been used and discuss the magnitude of the uses. Despite being non-exhaustive, our study clearly demonstrates that PFAS are used in almost all industry branches and many consumer products. In total, more than 200 use categories and subcategories are identified for more than 1400 individual PFAS. In addition to well-known categories such as textile impregnation, fire-fighting foam, and electroplating, the identified use categories also include many categories not described in the scientific literature, including PFAS in ammunition, climbing ropes, guitar strings, artificial turf, and soil remediation. We further discuss several use categories that may be prioritised for finding PFAS-free alternatives. Besides the detailed description of use categories, the present study also provides a list of the identified PFAS per use category, including their exact masses for future analytical studies aiming to identify additional PFAS.
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            Disposal of products and materials containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A cyclical problem

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              Thermal Stability and Decomposition of Perfluoroalkyl Substances on Spent Granular Activated Carbon

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environ Sci Technol
                Environ Sci Technol
                es
                esthag
                Environmental Science & Technology
                American Chemical Society
                0013-936X
                1520-5851
                15 June 2023
                11 July 2023
                : 57
                : 27
                : 10089-10095
                Affiliations
                []Department of Chemistry, Umeå University , SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
                []Industrial Doctoral School, Umeå University , SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
                Author notes
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8699-1586
                https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7589-9653
                Article
                10.1021/acs.est.2c08960
                10339719
                37319344
                2accc1e0-015d-4362-85cd-046808028b35
                © 2023 The Authors. Published by American Chemical Society

                Permits the broadest form of re-use including for commercial purposes, provided that author attribution and integrity are maintained ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

                History
                : 02 December 2022
                : 02 June 2023
                : 02 June 2023
                Funding
                Funded by: Stiftelsen Ã…forsk, doi 10.13039/501100009789;
                Award ID: 18-328
                Funded by: Umeå Energi AB, doi NA;
                Award ID: NA
                Funded by: Företagsforskarskolan för Samverkan och Innovation, Umeå Universitet, doi 10.13039/501100022531;
                Award ID: NA
                Categories
                Article
                Custom metadata
                es2c08960
                es2c08960

                General environmental science
                pfass,waste incineration,bottom ash,fly ash,municipal solid waste
                General environmental science
                pfass, waste incineration, bottom ash, fly ash, municipal solid waste

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