Review on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the Chinese atmospheric environment

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number139804
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Online published30 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been manufactured and used for over 50 years, and now are worldwide distributed in the environment. The atmospheric environment is the main compartment for PFASs to be transported and transformed, and relevant research has highlighted the global occurrence and impacts of atmospheric PFASs in ecosystems and human health. With the phasing-out and restriction of eight‑carbon chain-length (C8) PFASs in developed countries, China has become the largest producer of C8 PFASs since 2004. Subsequently, a number of studies on PFASs in the Chinese atmospheric environment have been conducted in the recent decade. This review documented twenty-eight studies on PFASs in Chinese outdoor air published to date. Methods of sampling, extraction, cleanup, and instrumental analysis were summarized for both ionic and neutral PFASs. Levels, compositions, and spatial distribution of PFASs from different areas in China (i.e. source, urban, and remote regions, and north versus south China) were compared and discussed. Leaves and tree barks were proposed as effective bioindicators to reflect the contamination status of atmospheric PFASs. Special attention can be given to non-target screening for future research directions.

Research Area(s)

  • Airborne particulate matter, Analytical method, Bioindicator, China, PFASs, Spatial distribution