Distribution characteristics of trifluoroacetic acid in the environments surrounding fluorochemical production plants in Jinan, China

Abstract

Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) is a ubiquitous and extremely stable contaminant in the ambient environment and may be discharged during fluorochemical production processes. However, the impacts of fluorochemical production on surrounding areas have seldom been evaluated. We focused on Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province, China, and measured TFA levels in water, soil, and air samples. Our results showed that the average TFA concentrations in flowing water bodies were lower than those in landscape water bodies. The average TFA concentrations in soils were significantly higher than the background concentration. As for atmospheric TFA levels, the mean concentrations in the gas phase were higher than those in the particle phase, and average daytime levels were slightly higher than nighttime levels. In addition, the quotient method was used to assess the ecological risk of TFA in water in Jinan. The ratio of pollutant environmental concentration to predicted no-effect concentration (PEC/PNEC) for TFA was greater than 1, indicating that TFA does potentially damage the aquatic ecosystem of Jinan. Our findings suggest that TFA pollution around fluoride production plants is a serious problem and that actions are required to avoid exacerbating the local ecological and environmental risks of TFA.

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Funding

This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41575140 and No. 41775143).

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Correspondence to Jianbo Zhang.

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Highlights

1. TFA in the environments surrounding fluorochemical production plants were measured.

2. Regional TFA pollution exists in the areas near fluorochemical industrial activity.

3. High TFA concentration may be related to the fluorochemical production process associated with high-temperature pyrolysis.

4. TFA did cause potential damage to the aquatic ecosystem of Jinan.

Responsible Editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Xie, G., Cui, J., Zhai, Z. et al. Distribution characteristics of trifluoroacetic acid in the environments surrounding fluorochemical production plants in Jinan, China. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 983–991 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-06689-4

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Keywords

  • Trifluoroacetic acid
  • Fluoride production plant
  • Atmosphere
  • Water
  • Soil
  • Ecological risks