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Perfluorooctane Sulfonate

Treatment Processes
Fate and Transport
CAS Number: 1763-23-1 (PFOS acid)
Synonyms: 1-Octanesulfonic acid, 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,8-heptadecafluoro, 1-Octanesulfonic acid, heptadecafluoro-, 1-Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, Hepatadecafluoro-1-octanesulfonic acid, Perfluoro-n-octanesulfonic acid, Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, Perfluorooctane Sulphonate, Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, Perfluorooctyl Sulfonate, Perfluorooctylsulfonic acid
Contaminant Type: Chemical

Perfluorooctane sulphonate anion (PFOS) is not a discrete substance and does not have a CAS number [2167]. PFOS is a synthetic perfluorinated compound (PFC), fully fluorinated, with a reactive terminal sulphonyl group [2166]. PFOS has a number of industrial and commercial uses, including as a surfactant for fire-fighting foam, a mist suppressant for metal-plating baths, and providing grease and water resistance to materials such as textiles, carpets, and paper [2166, 2167]. In 2000, the US manufacturer 3M agreed to cease production of PFOS [2166].

PFOS is not regulated by the USEPA in drinking water. However, in 2016, the USEPA established health advisories levels of 70 parts per trillion to provide Americans, including the most sensitive populations, with a margin of protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water.  When both PFOA and PFOS are found in drinking water, the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS should be compared with the 70 parts per trillion health advisory level. In the 1990s, PFOS was known to be widespread in the blood of the general population [2171]. Animal studies show that PFOS is well absorbed orally and distributed mainly in the serum and the liver [2170].

PFOS has been shown to be toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative in the environment. The fluorine-carbon bond is one of the strongest known in nature. As a result, PFOS is very much resistant to hydrolysis, photolysis, biodegradation [2166], and metabolism by vertebrates [1756]. Because of its polarity, PFOS is also readily soluble in water [1705]. PFOS has been detected in both surface and ground drinking water sources in many parts of the world such as Japan [1756], United Kingdom [2166], Italy [1705], and the US [2164].

Date of Literature Search: May 2018

1705 Loos, R., Wollgast, J., Huber, T. and Hanke, Georg; 2007; Polar herbicides, pharmaceutical products, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and nonylphenol and its carboxylates and ethoxylates in surface and tap waters around Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy; Anal. Bioanal. Chem.; 387:1469
1756 Takagi, S., Adachi, F., Miyano, K., Koizumi, Y., Tanaka, H., Mimura, M., Watanabe, I., Tanabe, S. and Kannan, K.; 2008; Perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoate in raw and treated tap water from Osaka, Japan; Chemosphere; 72:1409
2164 Oscar, Q. and Snyder S; 2009; Occurrence of Perfluoroalkyl Carboxylates and Sulfonates in Drinking Water Utilities and Related Waters from the United States; Environ. Sci. Technol.; 43:24:9089
2165 Tabe, S., Yang, P., Zhao, X., Hao, C., Seth, R., Schweizer, L. and Jamal, T.; 2010; Occurrence and Removal of PPCPs and EDCs in the Detroit River Watershed; Water Pract. Technol.; 5:1:1
2166 McLaughlin, C., Blake, S., Hall, T., Harman, M., Kanda, R., Foster, J. and Rumsby, P.; 2011; Perfluorooctane sulphonate in raw and drinking water sources in the United Kingdom; Water and Environment Journal; 25:1:13
2167 Brooke, D., Footitt, A. and Nwaogu, T.; 2004; Environmental Risk Evaluation Report: Perfluorooctane Sulphonate (PFOS); Environmental Risk Evaluation Report: Perfluorooctane Sulphonate (PFOS); Environment Agency, Chemical Assessment Section, Isis House, Howbery Park, Wallingford, UK
2170 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); 2002; Cooperation on Existing Chemicals Hazard Assessment of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Its Salts; Cooperation on Existing Chemicals Hazard Assessment of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Its Salts; ENV/JM/RD(2002)17/FINAL. pp. 6-15. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Paris , France.
2171 USEPA; 2012; Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and fluorinated telomers: Basic information; http://epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/pubs/pfoainfo.html; As post on February 8, 2012. EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Washington, DC.
2555 Crone, B.C., T.F. Speth, D.G. Wahman, S.J. Smith, G. Abulikemu, E.J. Kleiner and J.G. Pressman.; 2019; Occurrence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in source water and their treatment in drinking water.; Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology; Vol. 49, Issue 24
2556 Ross, I., J. McDonough, J. Miles, P. Storch, P.T. Kochunarayanan, E. Kalve, J. Hurst, S.S. Dasgupta, J. Burdick. ; 2018; A review of emerging technologies for remediation of PFASs.; Remediation; 29:101-126
2557 Speth, T., R. Khera, P. Ransom, N. Dugan, and C. Patterson. ; 2019; Emerging Concern (CECs): Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), Cyanotoxins, and Perchlorate. ; Presentation delivered on February 26, 2019, as part of the EPA’s Small Systems Monthly Webinar Series. ;