March 5, 2020

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Chase Holton Coauthored a Paper on Volatile Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Aqueous Film-Forming Foam in Environmental Science & Technology Letters

Chase Holton, Ph.D., P.E. (Colorado) coauthored a paper entitled "Release of Volatile Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances from Aqueous Film-Forming Foam" that was published in the Environmental Science & Technology Letters on February 20, 2020.

His coauthors were Julia Roth, Ibrahim Abusallout, Tiffany Hill, Utsav Thapa, and David Hanigan.

Chase Holton is a Senior Engineer based in Colorado focused on vapor intrusion, site characterization, and soil and groundwater remediation. Chase also worked to identify and address soil and groundwater contamination at numerous sites across the U.S. and Canada under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Regulations, Voluntary Cleanup and other regulatory programs, including chlorinated solvents, petroleum compounds, pesticides, and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Environmental Science & Technology Letters is an international forum for brief communications on experimental or theoretical results of exceptional timeliness in all aspects of environmental science (pure and applied), and short reviews on emerging environmental science & technology topics. Manuscripts describing cross-disciplinary research or addressing emerging issues are of particular interest.

Environmental Science & Technology Letters is a publication of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Founded in 1876 and chartered by the U.S. Congress, ACS is the world's largest scientific society. Their mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. Their vision is to improve people's lives through the transforming power of chemistry.


Use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFFs) to extinguish hydrocarbon fires tends to contaminate water and soil with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) near application sites. However, gas-phase PFAS release from AFFF has not been well examined. We investigated the presence of volatile PFASs in the headspace above agitated AFFF concentrate produced within the last two years using two analytical techniques. One method utilized polyurethane foam and XAD resin with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry to quantify 30 PFASs, and is similar to methods used by others to measure PFASs in air. A second, more exploratory approach used a thermal desorption sampler and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to measure 22 PFASs. 16 PFASs were detected in the headspace including 5 fluorotelomer alcohols (1.1 to 38.1 µg/m3), 10 perfluorinated carboxylic acids (1.2 to 13,668 µg/m3) and 1 fluorotelomer sulfonate (72.1 µg/m3). The most abundant PFAS detected in the headspace was perfluorooctanoic acid (13,668 µg/m3), although it was only detected by GC-MS. An additional five fully fluorinated, iodinated, and ethenyl fluorocarbons were identified but not quantified. It is likely that firefighters are exposed to these compounds, but the risk is not yet known.

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