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Dalmijn, J., Gluge, J., Scheringer, M. & Cousins, I. (2024). Emission inventory of PFASs and other fluorinated organic substances for the fluoropolymer production industry in Europe. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emission inventory of PFASs and other fluorinated organic substances for the fluoropolymer production industry in Europe
2024 (English)In: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, ISSN 2050-7887, E-ISSN 2050-7895Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Fluoropolymers are a group of fluorinated polymers within the broad class of substances known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). During their production, a wide array of additional fluorinated organic substances (many PFASs and some not defined as PFASs) are used, formed and emitted to air and water. This study aims to assess, and make an inventory of, all emissions of PFASs and other fluorinated organic substances by the fluoropolymer production industry in Europe using available emission databases and permits. Air emissions of the fluorinated gases (i.e., chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons (CFCs, H(C)FCs and PFCs)) by this industry have reportedly decreased between 2007 and 2021 from roughly 500 to 150 tonnes per year. Emissions of fluorosurfactants to air and water have also been reduced significantly. However, large uncertainties remain regarding the emissions of substances that are neither fluorinated gases nor fluorosurfactants but are classified as PFASs, such as polymerization by-products, chain transfer agents and fluorinated solvents. The available data indicate that the release of these substances is not decreasing but remains relatively stable. As this inventory probably underestimates emissions, further research, improved data availability and more harmonized reporting of emissions are necessary to obtain more accurate emission data for these substances. Nevertheless, based on the available data, it is clear that the emissions from fluoropolymer production plants to air and water are still significant and that the production of fluoropolymers continues to introduce persistent substances to the environment. This study assesses the environmental impact of the fluoropolymer industry in Europe by making an inventory of their emissions of PFASs and other fluorinated organic substances.

National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-226558 (URN)10.1039/d3em00426k (DOI)001143523300001 ()38231136 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85182909999 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2024-02-14 Created: 2024-02-14 Last updated: 2024-02-14
Skedung, L., Savvidou, E. K., Schellenberger, S., Reimann, A., Cousins, I. & Benskin, J. P. (2024). Identification and quantification of fluorinated polymers in consumer products by combustion ion chromatography and pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identification and quantification of fluorinated polymers in consumer products by combustion ion chromatography and pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
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2024 (English)In: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, ISSN 2050-7887, E-ISSN 2050-7895Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Total fluorine was determined in 45 consumer product samples from the Swedish market which were either suspected or known to contain fluorinated polymers. Product categories included cookware (70-550 000 ppm F), textiles (10-1600 ppm F), electronics (20-2100 ppm F), and personal care products (10-630 000 ppm F). To confirm that the fluorine was organic in nature, and deduce structure, a qualitative pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (pyr-GC/MS) method was validated using a suite of reference materials. When applied to samples with unknown PFAS content, the method was successful at identifying polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) in cookware, dental products, and electronics at concentrations as low as 0.1-0.2 wt%. It was also possible to distinguish between 3 different side-chain fluorinated polymers in textiles. Several products appeared to contain high levels of inorganic fluorine. This is one of the few studies to quantify fluorine in a wide range of consumer plastics and provides important data on the concentration of fluorine in materials which may be intended for recycling, along with insights into the application of pyr-GC/MS for structural elucidation of fluorinated polymers in consumer products. Using the combination of total analysis and pyrolysis-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to identify fluoropolymers in a broad range of consumer products.

National Category
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-225446 (URN)10.1039/d3em00438d (DOI)001125326400001 ()38099738 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2024-01-16 Created: 2024-01-16 Last updated: 2024-01-16
Schaeffer, A., Groh, K. J., Sigmund, G., Azoulay, D., Backhaus, T., Bertram, M. G., . . . Scheringer, M. (2023). Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution. Environmental Science and Technology, 57(48), 19066-19077
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution
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2023 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 57, no 48, p. 19066-19077Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Pollution by chemicals and waste impacts human and ecosystem health on regional, national, and global scales, resulting, together with climate change and biodiversity loss, in a triple planetary crisis. Consequently, in 2022, countries agreed to establish an intergovernmental science-policy panel (SPP) on chemicals, waste, and pollution prevention, complementary to the existing intergovernmental science-policy bodies on climate change and biodiversity. To ensure the SPP's success, it is imperative to protect it from conflicts of interest (COI). Here, we (i) define and review the implications of COI, and its relevance for the management of chemicals, waste, and pollution; (ii) summarize established tactics to manufacture doubt in favor of vested interests, i.e., to counter scientific evidence and/or to promote misleading narratives favorable to financial interests; and (iii) illustrate these with selected examples. This analysis leads to a review of arguments for and against chemical industry representation in the SPP's work. We further (iv) rebut an assertion voiced by some that the chemical industry should be directly involved in the panel's work because it possesses data on chemicals essential for the panel's activities. Finally, (v) we present steps that should be taken to prevent the detrimental impacts of COI in the work of the SPP. In particular, we propose to include an independent auditor's role in the SPP to ensure that participation and processes follow clear COI rules. Among others, the auditor should evaluate the content of the assessments produced to ensure unbiased representation of information that underpins the SPP's activities.

Keywords
human health, ecosystem health, science-policypanel, conflict of interest
National Category
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-225813 (URN)10.1021/acs.est.3c04213 (DOI)001116612700001 ()37943968 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85178382079 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2024-01-23 Created: 2024-01-23 Last updated: 2024-01-23Bibliographically approved
Savvidou, E. K., Sha, B., Salter, M. E., Cousins, I. & Johansson, J. H. (2023). Horizontal and Vertical Distribution of Perfluoroalkyl Acids (PFAAs) in the Water Column of the Atlantic Ocean. Environmental Science and Technology Letters, 10(5), 418-424
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Horizontal and Vertical Distribution of Perfluoroalkyl Acids (PFAAs) in the Water Column of the Atlantic Ocean
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2023 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology Letters, E-ISSN 2328-8930, Vol. 10, no 5, p. 418-424Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are widely distributed in the oceans which are their largest global reservoir, but knowledge is limited about their vertical distribution and fate. This study measured the concentrations of PFAAs (perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) with 6 to 11 carbons and perfluoroalkanesulfonic acids (PFSAs) with 6 and 8 carbons) in the surface and deep ocean. Seawater depth profiles from the surface to a 5000 m depth at 28 sampling stations were collected in the Atlantic Ocean from similar to 50 degrees N to similar to 50 degrees S. The results demonstrated PFAA input from the Mediterranean Sea and the English Channel. Elevated PFAA concentrations were observed at the eastern edge of the Northern Atlantic Subtropical Gyre, suggesting that persistent contaminants may accumulate in ocean gyres. The median sigma PFAA surface concentration in the Northern Hemisphere (n = 17) was 105 pg L-1, while for the Southern Hemisphere (n = 11) it was 28 pg L-1. Generally, PFAA concentrations decreased with increasing distance to the coast and increasing depth. The C6-C9 PFCAs and C6 and C8 PFSAs dominated in surface waters, while longer-chain PFAAs (C10-C11 PFCAs) peaked at intermediate depths (500-1500 m). This profile may be explained by stronger sedimentation of longer-chain PFAAs, as they sorb more strongly to particulate organic matter.

Keywords
PFOA, PFOS, seawater, depth profiles, hemisphere, Mediterranean Sea, gyre, English Channel
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-217028 (URN)10.1021/acs.estlett.3c00119 (DOI)000972000800001 ()2-s2.0-85152702908 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-05-15 Created: 2023-05-15 Last updated: 2023-05-15Bibliographically approved
Rensmo, A., Savvidou, E. K., Cousins, I., Hu, X., Schellenberger, S. & Benskin, J. P. (2023). Lithium-ion battery recycling: a source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the environment?. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 25(6), 1015-1030
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lithium-ion battery recycling: a source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the environment?
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2023 (English)In: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, ISSN 2050-7887, E-ISSN 2050-7895, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 1015-1030Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recycling of lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) is a rapidly growing industry, which is vital to address the increasing demand for metals, and to achieve a sustainable circular economy. Relatively little information is known about the environmental risks posed by LIB recycling, in particular with regards to the emission of persistent (in)organic fluorinated chemicals. Here we present an overview on the use of fluorinated substances – in particular per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – in state-of-the-art LIBs, along with recycling conditions which may lead to their formation and/or release to the environment. Both organic and inorganic fluorinated substances are widely reported in LIB components, including the electrodes and binder, electrolyte (and additives), and separator. Among the most common substances are LiPF6 (an electrolyte salt), and the polymeric PFAS polyvinylidene fluoride (used as an electrode binder and a separator). Currently the most common LIB recycling process involves pyrometallurgy, which operates at high temperatures (up to 1600 °C), sufficient for PFAS mineralization. However, hydrometallurgy, an increasingly popular alternative recycling approach, operates under milder temperatures (<600 °C), which could favor incomplete degradation and/or formation and release of persistent fluorinated substances. This is supported by the wide range of fluorinated substances detected in bench-scale LIB recycling experiments. Overall, this review highlights the need to further investigate emissions of fluorinated substances during LIB recycling and suggests that substitution of PFAS-based materials (i.e. during manufacturing), or alternatively post-treatments and/or changes in process conditions may be required to avoid formation and emission of persistent fluorinated substances.

National Category
Materials Chemistry Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-218046 (URN)10.1039/d2em00511e (DOI)000989460200001 ()37195252 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85160524699 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-07-26 Created: 2023-07-26 Last updated: 2023-10-12Bibliographically approved
van Dijk, J., Figuière, R., Dekker, S. C., van Wezel, A. P. & Cousins, I. (2023). Managing PMT/vPvM substances in consumer products through the concepts of essential-use and functional substitution: a case-study for cosmetics. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 25(6), 1067-1081
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing PMT/vPvM substances in consumer products through the concepts of essential-use and functional substitution: a case-study for cosmetics
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2023 (English)In: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, ISSN 2050-7887, E-ISSN 2050-7895, Vol. 25, no 6, p. 1067-1081Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Measures are needed to protect water sources from substances that are mobile, persistent and toxic (PMT) or very persistent and very mobile (vPvM). PMT/vPvM substances are used in a diverse range of applications, including consumer products. The combined application of the essential-use and functional substitution concepts has been proposed to phase out substances of concern and support the transition to safer and more sustainable chemicals, a key goal of the European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. Here, we first identified the market share of PMT/vPvM containing cosmetic products. We found that 6.4% of cosmetic products available on the European market contain PMT or vPvM substances. PMT/vPvM substances were most often found in hair care products. Based on their high occurrence, the substances Allura red (CAS 25956-17-6), benzophenone-4 (CAS 4065-45-6) and climbazole (CAS 38083-17-9) were selected as case-studies for assessment of their functionality, availability of safer alternatives and essentiality. Following the functional substitution framework, we found that the technical function of Allura red was not necessary for the performance of some cosmetic products, making the use non-essential. For other applications of Allura red, as well as all applications of benzophenone-4 and climbazole, the technical function of the chemical was considered necessary for the performance. Via the alternative’s assessment procedure, which used experimental and in silico data and three different multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) strategies, safer alternatives were identified for all case-study chemicals. All assessed uses of PMT/vPvM substances were thus deemed non-essential and should consequently be phased out.

National Category
Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-220215 (URN)10.1039/d3em00025g (DOI)000990106800001 ()37199459 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85160532867 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-08-25 Created: 2023-08-25 Last updated: 2023-08-25Bibliographically approved
Figuière, R., Borchert, F., Cousins, I. T. & Ågerstrand, M. (2023). The essential-use concept: a valuable tool to guide decision-making on applications for authorisation under REACH?. Environmental Sciences Europe, 35, Article ID 5.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The essential-use concept: a valuable tool to guide decision-making on applications for authorisation under REACH?
2023 (English)In: Environmental Sciences Europe, ISSN 2190-4707, E-ISSN 2190-4715, Vol. 35, article id 5Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background In 2020, the European Commission published the Chemical Strategy for Sustainability (CSS) in which it aims to increase the level of protection for human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals. Part of the implementation of the CSS will involve a reform of the REACH authorisation and restriction processes. One option for the reform of the authorisation process is to implement the essential-use concept as a tool to guide decision-making on applications for authorisation to make the process more efficient and to align it with societal needs. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether changes in the legal text that defines the authorisation process, and of the amount and type of information that applicants should provide in an application for authorisation, are needed to enable an implementation of the essential-use concept.

Results The results suggest that no fundamental changes in the regulatory requirements are needed and that applicants should already provide sufficient and relevant information to the authorities to determine if the use(s) applied for is (are) essential.

Conclusions Although the REACH authorisation already provides a legal and practical basis for an implementation of the essential-use concept, the feasibility of the essentiality assessment and its potential to make the decision-making on applications more efficient are highly dependent on the quality of the information provided and the clearness of decision criteria. However, if an applicant successfully demonstrates that the risk related to the use(s) applied for is adequately controlled, it could not be legally justified for the European Commission to refuse an authorisation by arguing that the use(s) applied for is (are) non-essential.

Keywords
Essential-use concept, Chemical Strategy for Sustainability, Authorisation process, Assessment for decision-making, REACH, Substance of Very High Concern
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Law
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-215163 (URN)10.1186/s12302-022-00708-x (DOI)000913553800001 ()2-s2.0-85146633982 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-03-02 Created: 2023-03-02 Last updated: 2024-01-07Bibliographically approved
Praetorius, A. & Cousins, I. T. (2022). ACS Environmental Au─How to Improve the Reach of Your Open Access Research. ACS Environmental Au, 2(5), 373-375
Open this publication in new window or tab >>ACS Environmental Au─How to Improve the Reach of Your Open Access Research
2022 (English)In: ACS Environmental Au, ISSN 2694-2518, Vol. 2, no 5, p. 373-375Article in journal, Editorial material (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

This Editorial provides suggestions for how authors can boost the visibility and reach of their research. If readers of this Editorial want more detailed guidance, we suggest that they read Rebecca Fuocco’s excellent Career Column in Nature1 and the supporting materials, and ACS Au Editor-in-Chief Shelley Minteer’s recent Editorial on Tips for Improving the Visibility of Research Publications.2 ACS Environmental Au continues to attract top-class contributions on a diversity of topics within the environmental sciences. We were especially delighted to have an ACS Editors’ Choice article in this issue and look forward to having more of these in future issues. As authors, we understand the value of giving your work that extra promotional boost, and as Editors of ACS Environmental Au, we are pleased to support our authors in disseminating their work.

National Category
Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-211961 (URN)10.1021/acsenvironau.2c00052 (DOI)2-s2.0-85139250731 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-11-29 Created: 2022-11-29 Last updated: 2022-11-29Bibliographically approved
Schellenberger, S., Liagkouridis, I., Awad, R., Khan, S., Plassmann, M., Peters, G., . . . Cousins, I. (2022). An Outdoor Aging Study to Investigate the Release of Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from Functional Textiles. Environmental Science and Technology, 56(6), 3471-3479
Open this publication in new window or tab >>An Outdoor Aging Study to Investigate the Release of Per- And Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) from Functional Textiles
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2022 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 56, no 6, p. 3471-3479Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The emission of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from functional textiles was investigated via an outdoor weathering experiment in Sydney, Australia. Polyamide (PA) textile fabrics treated with different water-repellent, side-chain fluorinated polymers (SFPs) were exposed on a rooftop to multiple natural stressors, including direct sunlight, precipitation, wind, and heat for 6-months. After weathering, additional stress was applied to the fabrics through abrasion and washing. Textile characterization using a multiplatform analytical approach revealed loss of both PFAS-containing textile fragments (e.g., microfibers) as well as formation and loss of low molecular weight PFAS, both of which occurred throughout weathering. These changes were accompanied by a loss of color and water repellency of the textile. The potential formation of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) from mobile residuals was quantified by oxidative conversion of extracts from unweathered textiles. Each SFP-textile finish emitted a distinct PFAA pattern following weathering, and in some cases the concentrations exceeded regulatory limits for textiles. In addition to transformation of residual low molecular weight PFAA-precursors, release of polymeric PFAS from degradation and loss of textile fibers/particles contributed to overall PFAS emissions during weathering. 

Keywords
PFAS, diffuse emissions, textile weathering, microplastic fibers, total fluorine analysis, functional textile
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-204016 (URN)10.1021/acs.est.1c06812 (DOI)000776207100017 ()35213128 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85125557598 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-04-19 Created: 2022-04-19 Last updated: 2022-04-19Bibliographically approved
Roy, M. A., Cousins, I., Harriman, E., Scheringer, M., Tickner, J. A. & Wang, Z. (2022). Combined Application of the Essential-Use and Functional Substitution Concepts: Accelerating Safer Alternatives. Environmental Science and Technology, 56(14), 9842-9846
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Combined Application of the Essential-Use and Functional Substitution Concepts: Accelerating Safer Alternatives
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2022 (English)In: Environmental Science and Technology, ISSN 0013-936X, E-ISSN 1520-5851, Vol. 56, no 14, p. 9842-9846Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Keywords
chemicals of concern, regulation, essential use, functional substitution
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Other Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-208006 (URN)10.1021/acs.est.2c03819 (DOI)000824083600001 ()35767679 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-85134721021 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-08-16 Created: 2022-08-16 Last updated: 2022-08-16Bibliographically approved
Projects
Does climate change threaten fishery ecosystem services in the Baltic Sea via increased mercury contamination of biota? [2014-1088_Formas]; Umeå University
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-7035-8660

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