Fluoride Action Network

Waste incineration of PTFE to evaluate potential formation of PFAS in flue gas

Source: Chemosphere 226:898-906. | June 29th, 2019 | By K. Aleksandrov, HJ Gehrmann, M. Hauser, H. Mätzing, D. Pigeon, D. Stapf, and M. Wexler.
Location: International


  • Municipal incineration of PTFE shows no significant generation of studied PFAS.
  • Using pilot scale equipment and paired t-testing minimizes background interference.
  • PTFE produced mainly hydrofluoric acid and carbon dioxide during incineration.


In recent years, concerns over some per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) have grown steadily. PFAS are a large group of chemical substances with widely differing properties. While one class of PFAS, fluoropolymers, have been demonstrated to meet the OECD criteria for polymers of low concern during the in use phase of their lifecycle, questions remain regarding waste handling at the end of useful life for products containing fluoropolymers. To show that polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) can be almost fully transformed into fluorine (F) (as hydrofluoric acid (HF)) and to study the possible generation of low molecular weight per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), PTFE combustion under typical waste incineration conditions at the BRENDA (German acronym for “Brennkammer mit Dampfkessel”) pilot plant at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was investigated. Results indicate that, within procedural quantitation limits, no statistically significant evidence was found that the PFAS studied were created during the incineration of PTFE. Therefore, municipal incineration of PTFE using best available technologies (BAT) is not a significant source of the studied PFAS and should be considered an acceptable form of waste treatment.

*Read full paper online at http://fluoridealert.org/wp-content/uploads/aleksandrov-2019.pdf