Elucidation of the transport and fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the high Arctic of Canada

MacInnis, John J. (2020) Elucidation of the transport and fate of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the high Arctic of Canada. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic chemicals that were manufactured since the 1950s. Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) are an important class of PFAS and are used for a number of industrial and commercial applications related to fluoropolymer manufacturing and surface treatments imparting stain, oil, and water repellency. The detection of PFAS in remote environments, such as the Arctic, where they are neither produced nor used, suggests they undergo long-range transport. It is suggested the long-range transport of PFAS to the Arctic occurs through the ocean, atmosphere, or some combination of the two. This thesis demonstrates that remote sample collection is an effective strategy for understanding the long-range transport of PFAS to the Arctic of Canada. The analysis of snow, ice, and sediment demonstrates PFAA are continuously transported to the Arctic of Canada. PFAA deposition is increasing over time in many Arctic regions in Canada, and their occurrence in these environments is primarily attributed to the long-range atmospheric transport and oxidation of volatile precursor chemicals. The results in this thesis support the hypothesis that long-range atmospheric transport is an important pathway for PFAA to the Arctic, however, they also provide unique insights into the post-depositional transport and fate of PFAS in the Arctic, especially in environments that are responding to climate warming. These results demonstrate for the first time that climate warming is an important vector for PFAS deposition through the action of enhancing glacier and permafrost ice melting, which remobilizes historically archived PFAS in glacier and permafrost ice into recipient freshwater ecosystems in the High Arctic of Canada.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14420
Item ID: 14420
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references. -- Restricted until 1/4/2022.
Keywords: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, Arctic, Long-range Transport, Climate Warming
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Chemistry
Date: March 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/kpw7-yd88
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Perfluorinated chemicals--Transport properties--Canada, Northern.

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