A new study by Canadian researchers has determined that there are “no compelling scientific arguments” to support the existence of naturally formed trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), countering a claim about “natural TFA” that is often made by producers of f-gases and referred to in earlier research.
The new study, “Insufficient evidence for the existence of natural trifluoroacetic acid,” published on November 1 in Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, concluded that in the absence of new evidence, “natural TFA should not be invoked in any discussions about the production and/or regulation of TFA.”
TFA is produced in the atmosphere by 100% conversion of HFO-1234yf, as well as 20% conversion of HFC-134a, when those gases escape from refrigeration and air conditioning. This TFA then descends in rainfall, and is deposited in fresh water and other places. A number of recent research studies have raised concerns about the growing accumulation of TFA in the environment and the potentially harmful health and environmental impacts of this growth.
In addition, TFA and certain f-gases are considered by European authorities to be part of PFAS, a group of highly durable “forever chemicals” that can pose problems for human health.
One of the Canadian researchers in the new study, Associate Professor Cora Young of Toronto, Canada-based York University, discussed her TFA research during the online ATMOsphere America conference on November 3. ATMOsphere America was organized by ATMOsphere, (previously known as shecco), publisher of this website.