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Athens, GA, United States

Washington J.W.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Jenkins T.M.,Senior Environmental Employment Program | Rankin K.,University of Toronto | Naile J.E.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

Fluorotelomer-based polymers (FTPs) are the primary product of the fluorotelomer industry. Here we report on a 376-day study of the degradability of two commercial acrylate-linked FTPs in four saturated soils and in water. Using an exhaustive serial extraction, we report GC/MS and LC/MS/MS results for 50 species including fluorotelomer alcohols and acids, and perfluorocarboxylates. Modeling of seven sampling rounds, each consisting of ≥5 replicate microcosm treatments, for one commercial FTP in one soil yielded half-life estimates of 65-112 years and, when the other commercial FTP and soils were evaluated, the estimated half-lives ranged from 33 to 112 years. Experimental controls, consisting of commercial FTP in water, degraded roughly at the same rate as in soil. A follow-up experiment, with commercial FTP in pH 10 water, degraded roughly 10-fold faster than the circum-neutral control suggesting that commercial FTPs can undergo OH--mediated hydrolysis. 8:2Fluorotelomer alcohol generated from FTP degradation in soil was more stable than without FTP present suggesting a clathrate guest-host association with the FTP. To our knowledge, these are the only degradability-test results for commercial FTPs that have been generated using exhaustive extraction procedures. They unambiguously show that commercial FTPs, the primary product of the fluorotelomer industry, are a source of fluorotelomer and perfluorinated compounds to the environment. (Figure Presented). © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

Strynar M.J.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Lindstrom A.B.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Nakayama S.F.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Egeghy P.P.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Helfant L.J.,Senior Environmental Employment Program
Chemosphere | Year: 2012

A growing number of studies now indicate that perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are globally distributed in the environment. Their widespread distribution and presence in remote locations has led to questions about the importance of atmospheric and oceanic transport. Describing their distribution in surface soils is also an essential but neglected element in developing a comprehensive understanding of their occurrence in the environment. Soils are the critical link between global atmospheric and hydrologic processes where both local and distant contaminants can accumulate and be released into aquatic and terrestrial communities. Because PFC concentrations in soils will influence ground and surface water, wildlife, and crops, methods to accurately measure PFCs in soil are clearly needed. To help answer this need, we developed a method for the analysis of nine perfluorinated carboxylic acids and four perfluorinated sulfonic acids in soil. Samples from six nations (n=10 per nation) were analyzed by LC-MS/MS to demonstrate the method performance parameters and to make preliminary observations about the occurrence of the PFCs in soils in different parts of the world. The resulting method shows acceptable performance characteristics for the target compounds in most soils while documenting the widespread occurrence of PFCs in surface soils. © 2011. Source

Hecker M.,ENTRIX Inc. | Hecker M.,University of Saskatchewan | Hollert H.,RWTH Aachen | Cooper R.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | And 13 more authors.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research | Year: 2011

Background, goals, and scope: In response to increasing concerns regarding the potential of chemicals to interact with the endocrine system of humans and wildlife, various national and international programs have been initiated with the aim to develop new guidelines for the screening and testing of these chemicals in vertebrates. Here, we report on the validation of an in vitro assay, the H295R steroidogenesis assay, to detect chemicals with the potential to inhibit or induce the production of the sex steroid hormones testosterone (T) and 17β-estradiol (E2) in preparation for the development of an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) test guideline. Methods: A previously optimized and pre-validated protocol was used to assess the potential of 28 chemicals of diverse structures and properties to validate the H295R steroidogenesis assay. These chemicals are comprised of known endocrine-active chemicals and "negative" chemicals that were not expected to have effects on the targeted endpoints, as well as a number of test chemicals with unknown modes of action at the level of the steroidogenic pathway. A total of seven laboratories from seven countries participated in this effort. In addition to effects on hormone production, confounding factors, such as cell viability and possible direct interference of test substances with antibody-based hormone detection assays, were assessed. Prior to and during the conduct of exposure experiments, each laboratory had to demonstrate that they were able to conduct the assay within the margin of predefined performance criteria. Results: With a few exceptions, all laboratories met the key quality performance parameters, and only 2% and 7% of all experiments for T and E2, respectively, were excluded due to exceedance of these parameters. Of the 28 chemicals analyzed, 13 and 14 tested affected production of T and E2, respectively, while 11 and 8 did not result in significant effects on T and E2 production, respectively. Four and six chemicals produced ambiguous results for effects on T and E2 production, respectively. However, four of these cases each for T and E2 were associated with only one laboratory after a personnel change occurred. Significant interference of test chemicals with some of the antibody-based hormone detection systems occurred for four chemicals. Only one of these chemicals, however, significantly affected the ability of the detection system to categorize the chemical as affecting E2 or T production. Discussion and conclusions: With one exception, the H295R steroidogenesis assay protocol successfully identified the majority of chemicals with known and unknown modes of interaction as inducers or inhibitors of T and E2 production. Thus it can be considered a reliable screen for chemicals that can alter the production of sex steroid hormones. One of the remaining limitations associated with the H295R steroidogenesis assay protocol is the relatively small basal production of E2 and its effect on quantifying the decreased production of this hormone with regard to the identification of weak inhibitors. An initial comparison of the data produced in this study with those from in vivo studies from the literature demonstrated the potential of the H295R steroidogenesis assay to identify chemicals affecting hormone homeostasis in whole organisms. Particularly promising was the lack of any false negatives during the validation and the very low number of false positives (1 out of 28 chemicals for each T and E2). Perspectives: Based on the results obtained during this validation study and the accordingly revised test protocols, an OECD draft test guideline was developed and submitted to the OECD working group of the national coordinators of the test guidelines program (WNT) for comments in December 2009. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Washington J.W.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Jenkins T.M.,Senior Environmental Employment Program | Weber E.J.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

A pair of homologous series of polyfluorinated degradation products have been identified, both having structures similar to perfluorocarboxylic acids but (i) having a H substitution for F on the α carbon for 2H polyfluorocarboxylic acids (2HPFCAs) and (ii) bearing a double bond between the α-β carbons for the unsaturated PFCAs (2uPFCAs). Obtaining an authentic sample containing 2uPFOA and 2HPFOA, we optimized a mass-spectrometric multiple-reaction-monitoring (MS/MS) technique and then identified uPFCA and HPFCA homologous series in sludge-applied agricultural soils and fodder grasses for cattle grazing. Analysis of samples from a degradation experiment of commercial fluorotelomer-based polymers (FTPs), the dominant product of the fluorotelomer industry, confirmed that commercial FTPs are a potential source of uPFCAs and HPFCAs to the environment. We further confirmed the identity of the uPFCAs by imposing high-energy ionization to decarboxylate the uPFCAs then focused on the fluorinated chains in the first MS quadrupole. We also employed this high-energy ionization to decarboxylate and analyze PFCAs by MS/MS (for the first time, to our knowledge). In exploratory efforts, we report the possible detection of unsaturated perfluorooctanesulfonate in environmental samples, having a conceptual double-bond structure analogous to uPFOA. Using microcosms spiked with fluorotelomer compounds, we found 2uPFOA and 2HPFOA to be generated from unsaturated 8:2 fluorotelomer acid (8:2 FTUCA) and propose β- and α-oxidation mechanisms for generation of these compounds from 8:2 FTUCA. In light of these experimental results, we also reexamined the proposed biodegradation pathways of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

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