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ABSTRACT - A suite of analytical techniques was used to obtain a comprehensive picture of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in selected Canadian food packaging used for fast foods (n = 42). Particle-induced gamma ray emission spectroscopy revealed that 55% of the samples contained <3580, 19% contained 3580–10 800, and 26% > 10 800 μg F/m2. The highest total F (1 010 000–1 300 000 μg F/m2) was measured in molded “compostable” bowls. Targeted analysis of 8 samples with high total F revealed 4–15 individual PFAS in each sample, with 6:2 fluorotelomer methacrylate (FTMAc) and 6:2 fluorotelomer alcohol (FTOH) typically dominating. Up to 34% of the total fluorine was released from samples after hydrolysis, indicating the presence of unknown precursors. Nontargeted analysis detected 22 PFAS from 6 different groups, including degradation products of FTOH. Results indicate the use of side-chain fluorinated polymers and suggest that these products can release short-chain compounds that ultimately can be transformed to compounds of toxicological concern. Analysis after 2 years of storage showed overall decreases in PFAS consistent with the loss of volatile compounds such as 6:2 FTMAc and FTOH. The use of PFAS in food packaging such as “compostable” bowls represents a regrettable substitution of single-use plastic food packaging.
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