AbstractPer- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been widely used in consumer products, and some inevitably end up as municipal solid waste. Significant knowledge gaps associated with the fate and release of PFAS from postconsumer products in solid waste management processes exist that limit our current ability to develop appropriate end-of-life management strategies for PFAS. The objectives of this paper are to summarize the current knowledge associated with the fate and release of PFAS from postconsumer products from commonly used waste management processes (including landfilling, recycling, composting, and incineration) and to use that information to identify knowledge gaps and potential exposure pathways for humans and the environment. The current results indicate that landfills are major sinks of PFAS because most PFAS-containing consumer products are landfilled, and PFAS was extensively reported in landfill leachate. More information is needed regarding the total influx of PFAS into landfills as well as landfill gas emissions. Recycling and composting also present potential exposure pathways. The reprocessing of carpet and paper packaging was reported to cause direct exposure to onsite workers through PFAS volatilization and dust emissions. Recycling can cause the circularity of PFAS in the new product and subsequent release throughout its lifespan. Composted food packaging was found to contain PFAS and could cause contamination during the land application of compost. The incineration of waste provides near-complete destruction (∼99%) of PFAS. However, some low-temperature regions within the furnace may still result in products of incomplete combustion, such as short-chain perfluoroalkyl acids and other stable fluorinated compounds, which may be released in incinerator ash. More information is needed regarding the mechanisms of PFAS thermal destruction. Case studies of PFAS product categories indicated that carpet and cosmetics might contribute to the release of more soluble and volatile PFAS, such as perfluoroalkyl acids and fluorotelomer alcohols during landfilling in leachate and gas. The fate of specific PFAS during waste management aligns well with their physical/chemical properties, such as solubility and volatility.

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