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Chemistry, abundance, detection and treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water: a review


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) encompass a wide range of compounds containing carbon–fluorine bonds. Due the strength of this bond and the high electronegativity of fluorine atoms, PFAS display stability, wettability and other characteristics that are unique for industrial applications and products. However, PFAS induce adverse effects on the environment and human health. Here we review the chemistry, synthesis, properties, analysis, occurrence in water, filtration, removal and oxydation of PFAS.  We highlight emerging hybrid treatments to remove PFAS from water.

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source for Ref (a) (Malits et al. 2018), Ref (b) (Bernier 2014), Ref (c) (Greßmann et al. 2014), and Ref (d) (2014) are inserted next to them. Abbreviations are PFAS: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid, PFCs: perfluorochemicals, PFOS: Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, UV: Ultraviolet–visible, EU: European Union, IQ: Intelligence quotient, and USD: United states dollar

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reproduced with permission from ACS (Hu et al. 2016)), b The detection frequency in different water sources, including surface water, groundwater, and artificial recharge are also shown (data source (Banzhaf et al. 2017)), c Graph bars show PFAS detection frequency in river and seawater samples, based on 40 samples for river and 18 samples for seawater (data source (Nguyen et al. 2017)). d Schematic graphic of three different PFAS abundant locations. Here, conventional wells represent groundwater, surface water along with river/sea and artificial recharge containers which are contaminated with PFAS (data source (Banzhaf et al. 2017)). Abbreviations are AFFF: Aqueous film-forming foams, PFAS: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFBA: Pentafluorobenzoic acid, PFNA: Perfluorononanoic acid, PFOS: Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, PFUnDA: Perfluoroundecanoic acid, PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid, PFDA: Perfluorodecanoic acid, PFHxS: Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid, FOSA: Perfluoroheptanesulfonic acid, PFBS: Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid, PFDoDA: Perfluorododecanoic acid, PFHpA: Perfluoroheptanoic acid, PFHxA: Perfluorohexanoic acid, PFTeDA: Perfluorotetradecanoic acid, and FOSAA: Perfluorinated sulfonamidoacetic acid. Reprinted with permission of American Chemical Society from (Hu et al. 2016)

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Correspondence to Mostafa Dadashi Firouzjaei, Siamak Nejati or Mark A. Elliott.

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Dadashi Firouzjaei, M., Zolghadr, E., Ahmadalipour, S. et al. Chemistry, abundance, detection and treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in water: a review. Environ Chem Lett 20, 661–679 (2022).

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  • PFAS
  • Synthesis
  • Analytical
  • Hybrid treatment
  • Health
  • Environment