A critical review of existing publications is presented i) to summarize the occurrence of various classes of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and their sources in landfills, ii) to identify temporal and geographical trends of PFASs in landfills; iii) to delineate the factors affecting PFASs in landfills; and iv) to identify research gaps and future research directions. Studies have shown that perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are routinely detected in landfill leachate, with short chain (C4-C7) PFAAs being most abundant, possibly indicating their greater mobility, and reflecting the industrial shift towards shorter-chain compounds. Despite its restricted use, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) remains one of the most abundant PFAAs in landfill leachates. Recent studies have also documented the presence of PFAA-precursors (e.g., saturated and unsaturated fluorotelomer carboxylic acids) in landfill leachates at concentrations comparable to, or higher than, the most frequently detected PFAAs. Landfill ambient air also contains elevated concentrations of PFASs, primarily semi-volatile precursors (e.g., fluorotelomer alcohols) compared to upwind control sites, suggesting that landfills are potential sources of atmospheric PFASs. The fate of PFASs inside landfills is controlled by a combination of biological and abiotic processes, with biodegradation releasing most of the PFASs from landfilled waste to leachate. Biodegradation in simulated anaerobic reactors has been found to be closely related to the methanogenic phase. The methane-yielding stage also results in higher pH (>7) of leachates, correlated with higher mobility of PFAAs. Little information exists regarding PFAA-precursors in landfills. To avoid significant underestimation of the total PFAS released from landfills, PFAA-precursors and their degradation products should be determined in future studies. Owing to the semi-volatile nature of some precursor compounds and their degradation products, future studies also need to include landfill gas to clarify degradation pathways and the overall fate of PFASs.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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