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Polyfluoroalkyl compounds in the Canadian Arctic atmosphere

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date19/08/2011
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
Number of pages8
Original languageEnglish


Polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) were determined in high-volume air samples during a ship cruise onboard the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen crossing the Labrador Sea, Hudson Bay and the Beaufort Sea of the Canadian Arctic. Five PFC classes (i.e. perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs), polyfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs), fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs), fluorinated sulfonamides (FOSAs), and sulfonamidoethanols (FOSEs)) were analysed separately in the gas phase collected on PUF/XAD-2 sandwiches and in the particle phase on glass-fibre filters (GFFs). The method performance of sampling, extraction and instrumental analysis were compared between two research groups. The FTOHs were the dominant PFCs in the gas phase (20-138 pg m(-3)), followed by the FOSEs (0.4-23 pg m(-3)) and FOSAs (0.5-4.7 pg m(-3)). The PFCAs could only be quantified in the particle phase with low levels (<0.04-0.18 pg m(-3)). In the particle phase, the dominant PFC class was the FOSEs (0.3-8.6 pg m(-3)). The particle-associated fraction followed the general trend of: FOSEs (similar to 25 %) > FOSAs (similar to 9%) > FTOHs (similar to 1%). Significant positive correlation between Sigma FOSA concentrations in the gas phase and ambient air temperature indicate that cold Arctic surfaces, such as the sea-ice snowpack and surface seawater could be influencing FOSAs in the atmosphere.