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Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in New Firefighter Turnout Gear Textiles

Published

Author(s)

Andrew Maizel, Andre Thompson, Meghanne Tighe, Samuel Escobar Veras, Alix Rodowa, Ryan Falkenstein-Smith, Bruce A. Benner Jr., Kathleen Hoffman, Michelle K. Donnelly, Olivia Hernandez, Nadine Wetzler, Trung Ngu, Jessica Reiner, Benjamin Place, John Kucklick, Kate Rimmer, Rick D. Davis

Abstract

Turnout gear is increasingly recognized as a potential source of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) exposure to firefighters. To determine the type, concentration, and prevalence of PFAS potentially present in new firefighter turnout gear, fifty-three nonvolatile, semivolatile, and volatile PFAS were quantified in twenty textiles used in the construction of firefighter turnout gear. Between one and seventeen PFAS were observed and quantified in each textile, with higher numbers of detections and higher concentrations of PFAS present in moisture barrier and outer shell textiles compared with thermal liner textiles. Three fluorotelomerization-derived PFAS with six perfluorinated carbons, 6:2 fluorotelomer methacrylate, 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol, and 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonic acid, were quantified at the highest concentrations of any individual PFAS, up to 1,570 µg/kg ± 140 µg/kg (mean ± standard deviation of triplicate measurements), 613 µg/kg ± 15 µg/kg and 393 µg/kg ± 98 µg/kg, respectively. These three PFAS were not detected in outer shells that had not received fluoropolymer treatments which could indicate they were remnant raw materials from side-chain fluorinated polymer manufacturing. Also widely identified were two compounds with four perfluorinated carbons; perfluorobutane sulfonic acid and perfluorobutane sulfonamide. Perfluorocarboxylic acids, especially those with fewer than six perfluorinated carbons, were nearly universally identified, but entirely at concentrations below 40 µg/kg. In contrast, PFAS with eight or more perfluorinated carbons, such as perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, were present at summed concentrations below 2 µg/kg in all textiles. The wide variation in summed PFAS concentrations among each textile type suggests that the amount of PFAS present in new turnout gear could vary widely based on the specific textiles used in gear manufacturing.
Citation
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 2248
Report Number
2248

Keywords

Durable water repellent, firefighter, moisture barrier, outer shell, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, turnout gear, thermal liner.

Citation

Maizel, A. , Thompson, A. , Tighe, M. , Escobar Veras, S. , Rodowa, A. , Falkenstein-Smith, R. , Benner Jr., B. , Hoffman, K. , Donnelly, M. , Hernandez, O. , Wetzler, N. , Ngu, T. , Reiner, J. , Place, B. , Kucklick, J. , Rimmer, K. and Davis, R. (2023), Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in New Firefighter Turnout Gear Textiles, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.2248, https://tsapps.nist.gov/publication/get_pdf.cfm?pub_id=936242 (Accessed May 20, 2024)

Issues

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Created May 1, 2023