Treatment technologies for aqueous perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)

  • Chad D. Vecitis
  • Hyunwoong Park
  • Jie Cheng
  • Brian T. Mader
  • Michael R. Hoffmann
Feature Article


Fluorochemicals (FCs) are oxidatively recalcitrant, environmentally persistent, and resistant to most conventional treatment technologies. FCs have unique physiochemical properties derived from fluorine which is the most electronegative element. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) have been detected globally in the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Reducing treatment technologies such as reverses osmosis, nano-filtration and activated carbon can remove FCs from water. However, incineration of the concentrated waste is required for complete FC destruction. Recently, a number of alternative technologies for FC decomposition have been reported. The FC degradation technologies span a wide range of chemical processes including direct photolysis, photocatalytic oxidation, photochemical oxidation, photochemical reduction, thermally-induced reduction, and sonochemical pyrolysis. This paper reviews these FC degradation technologies in terms of kinetics, mechanism, energetic cost, and applicability. The optimal PFOS/PFOA treatment method is strongly dependent upon the FC concentration, background organic and metal concentration, and available degradation time.


fluorochemical (FC) degradation technologies perfluoroctanesulfonate (PFOS) perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) oxidation reduction photolysis thermolysis review 


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chad D. Vecitis
    • 1
  • Hyunwoong Park
    • 1
  • Jie Cheng
    • 1
  • Brian T. Mader
    • 2
  • Michael R. Hoffmann
    • 1
  1. 1.W. M. Keck Laboratories, California Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.3M Environmental LaboratoryMaplewoodUSA

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