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EC number: 200-929-3
CAS number: 76-05-1
Several monitoring studies of good quality report widespreaded TFA
concentrations in several environmental matrix including air,
freshwaters and marine waters all around the world and tend to establish
its sources. Four studies, two in peer reviewed journals and two study
reports presented results relevant for the European area. Three other
published studies report TFA concentrations in North America and in
China that support the European data's.
Analytical techniques for TFA have relied primarily on GC-based methods
and involved derivatization. Each of these methods has been successfully
employed in the analysis of TFA in environmentally diverse matrices and
at various concentrations. For example, TFA has been measured in samples
0.2-850 ng/L), surface waters (<0.2-280 ng/L), fog condensate (2154
ng/L), drinking water (<0.2-450 ng/L) and air (<3.3-3230 ng/L).
TFA concentration have been determined regularly in air, precipitation,
and surface waters in Bayreuth from March 1995 until Septembre 1996. In
addition, isolated samples have been taken at various locations in
Germany, Europe and on other continents during the same period. The
average concentration of TFA in air samples taken near Bayreuth is 50
pg/m3, in rain water 100 ng/L, and in river water 140 ng/L. Waters from
ground sources contain TFA in concentrations similar to those of
precipitation in Germany while in mineral waters concentrations are
markedly lower (in three waters older than 200 years, TFA did not exceed
blank levels). In water samples from other continents (South Africa,
Australia, Brasil, Israel, Siberia) concentrations ranged from 20 to 500
ng/l and in two samples, TFA could not be detected. Ocean waters
contained 40 ng/L (Baltic Sea), 90 ng/L (North Sea), 160 ng/L (South
Atlantic, Cape of Good Hope), and 250 ng/L (North Atlantic, French
Coast). In one study, TFA levels in Atlantic and Antarctic Ocean waters
were almost all about 200 ng/L rank and independent of depth. In another
study, the reported values for ocean waters ranged from < 10 ng/L in the
Pacific Ocean to greater than 150 ng/L in the Atlantic Ocean. Sampling
at low depth (up to 700 -800 m) exhibited variable TFA concentrations
but below this depth, in water having 14C ages exceeding 1000 years, the
TFA concentrations were constant (150 ng/L). TFA concentrations in
Mediterranean Sea were between 0.5 and 50 ng/L.
Supporting data were obtained in 1994-1996 from several locations in
California and Nevada. Fog and rain samples contained 31 -3779 ng/L TFA.
Snow samples taken in more remote areas had 51-584 ng/L. Surface water
varied from 55 ng/L - 41 µg/L depending on type and location. Washout of
TFA from the lower atmosphere was observed in both rain and fog samples.
Haloacetic acid (HAA) concentrations were measured in air samples from a
semi-rural and a highly urbanized site in southern Ontario throughout
2000 to investigate their sources and gas-particle partitioning
HAA concentrations (i.e., gas + particles) ranged between < 0.025 and 19
ng/m3 for individual HAAs (TFA, DFA, MFA and TCA) at both sites. A
simple deposition model indicated that precipitation concentrations can
be successfully predicted by the Henry's law constant.
Results from nine provinces and autonomous regions in China indicate
that the concentrations of TFA through the period from 2000 to 2001 in
nine rainfalls and three snowfalls ranged from 25 to 220 ng/L, in the
inland surface water samples ranged from 4.7 to 221 ng/L, in groundwater
samples was 10 ng/L and in coastal water samples ranged from 4.2 to
Known sources of TFA include the termolysis of perfluorinated chemicals,
the atmospheric oxidation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons and
hydrofluorocarbons and fluorotelomer alcohols. Industrial and consumer
applications are the primary source of emissions of the higher perfluoro
acids while TFA results primarily from both the atmospheric degradation
of CFC replacements and from the degradation of fluoropolymers in high
temperature applications. For some authors, TFA has only recently
entered the environment and arises from anthropogenic sources. The
pattern of high TFA concentration values observed in industrialized
countries of Europe, coupled with very low concentrations near blank
values found in remote regions suggests that a significant part of TFA
is produced from precursor molecules with lifetimes of less than two
weeks. A much uniform distribution would occur if the precursor
molecules were HCFC's, HFC's, HBFC's having lifetimes ranging from 1 -20
years. TFA measurements taken in Germany, Switzerland and Israël suggest
that the level of TFA found in rainwater and/or in fresh and salt waters
bodies are at least of 10 greater than predicted based on known sources
and that TFA-release has started to take place some decades ago. All
this information suggests that there are unknown sources of TFA.
However, in an other study investigating possible natural sources of
TFA, profiles were taken over three vents in the Pacific and
Mediterranean Oceans and the results suggest that some deep-sea vents
may be natural sources of TFA. Further, the determination of TFA in
ocean waters of known age was performed and TFA levels in Atlantic and
Antarctic Ocean water were almost all about 200 ng/L, independent of
depth. Therefore, TFA is present in the global environment in quantities
exceeding what can be explained by industrial processes and/or chemicals
hitherto considered, and is far more than may be expected from a few
years of HFC production. This assumption is supported by the magnitude
of TFA levels measured in North America indicating that formation in the
environment from HCFC and HFC degradation is occurring more rapidly than
expected, or that alternate sources of TFA exist. However, whether
anthropogenic processes sush as combustion of fossil fuels have
contributed to the present-day levels, or whether natural geogenic or
biogenic processes are also involved remains to be clarified.
Three field studies published in peer review journals and of good
quality are also available for TFA. One study invastigated the
degradation of TFA in field aquatic microcosms and laboratory sediment
water systems from Canada. Trifluoroacetic acid was extremely persistent
and showed no degradation during one-year field studies and 2880h in
laboratory microsoms. In the two others studies TFA was added
experimentally to upland and wetland forest. More than 70% of the added
TFA was exported from the upland forest in drainage water while the
reminder was retained in the surface organic soil (10-20%) and
vegetation (5-20%). In contrast, probably <5% of the added TFA flowed
out of the forest wetland in drainage water. Considerable TFA was
retained in the forest wetland soil (20 -60%) and vegetation (20-50%).
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