Comparative study on adsorption of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) by different adsorbents in water

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Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are emerging environmental pollutants. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) are the two primary PFC contaminants that are widely found in water, particularly in groundwater. This study compared the adsorption behaviors of PFOS and PFOA on several commercially available adsorbents in water. The tested adsorbents include granular activated carbon (GAC: Filtrasorb 400), powdered activated carbon, multi-walled carbon nanotube (MCN), double-walled carbon nanotube, anion-exchange resin (AER: IRA67), non-ion-exchange polymer, alumina, and silica. The study demonstrated that adsorption is an effective technique for the removal of PFOS/PFOA from aqueous solutions. The kinetic tests showed that the adsorption onto AER reaches equilibrium rapidly (2 h), while it takes approximately 4 and 24 h to reach equilibrium for MCN and GAC, respectively. In terms of adsorption capacity, AER and GAC were identified as the most effective adsorbents to remove PFOS/PFOA from water. Furthermore, MCN, AER, and GAC proved to have high PFOS/PFOA removal efficiencies (≥98%). AER (IRA67) and GAC (Filtrasorb 400) were thus identified as the most promising adsorbents for treating PFOS/PFOA-contaminated groundwater at mg L−1 level based on their equilibrium times, adsorption capacities, removal efficiencies, and associated costs.

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