|Chemical Abstract Number (CAS #)||
||EPA Method 525||EPA Method 610
||EPA Method 625.2
||EPA Method 8100
||EPA Method 8270
||EPA Method 8310
Link to the National Library of Medicine's Hazardous Substances
Database for more details
on this compound.
|Use|| CHEM INT IN NUMEROUS MISC APPLICATIONS & IN FORMATION OF
POLYRADICALS FOR RESINS
/IN RESINOUS PRODUCTS, DYESTUFFS
Derivatives of fluorene show activity as herbicides and growth regulators.
|Consumption Patterns|| 100% AS A CHEMICAL INTERMEDIATE IN VARIOUS APPLICATIONS
|Apparent Color|| DAZZLING WHITE LEAFLETS OR FLAKES FROM ALCOHOL; SMALL,
WHITE, CRYSTALLINE PLATES; FLUORESCENT WHEN IMPURE
|Boiling Point|| 295 DEG C
|Melting Point|| 116-117 DEG C
|Molecular Weight|| 166.21
|Density|| 1.203 @ 0 DEG C/4 DEG C
|Environmental Impact|| Fluorene occurs in fossil fuels. Its release to the environment is wide spread since it is a
ubiquitous product of incomplete combustion. It is released to the atmosphere in emissions from
the combustion of oil, gasoline, coal, wood and refuse. If released to the atmosphere, fluorene will
exist primarily in the vapor phase where it will degrade readily by photochemically produced
hydroxyl radicals (estimated half-life of 29 hr). Particulate phase fluorene (such as fluorene
associated with fly ash) can be removed from air physically via wet and dry deposition; fluorene
has been detected in rain, snow and fog samples. Some particulate phase fluorene can be stable to
photo-oxidation which will permit its long range global transport. If released to soil or water,
fluorene will biodegrade readily (aerobically) in the presence of acclimated microbes; microbial
adaptation is an important fate process. Biodegradation can be slow in pristine soils or waters (or
under conditions of limited oxygen). Strong adsorption to soil and water sediment is an important
transport process; fluorene has been detected in numerous, widespread sediment samples. The
half-life of fluorene in soil has been reported to range from 2 to 64 days. Human exposure to
fluorene occurs primarily through the smoking of tobacco, inhalation of polluted air and by
ingestion of food and water contaminated by combustion effluents.
|Environmental Fate|| TERRESTRIAL FATE: The half-life of fluorene in soil has been reported to range from
2 to 64 days(1-2); in one study in an unacclimated agricultural sandy loam soil, the half-life ranged
from 32 days (at 30 deg C) to 60 days (at 10 deg C) . The results of biological screening studies
indicate that biodegradation is the primary route of degradation in soil(3-5); biodegradation
occurs much more rapidly in the presence of acclimated microbes ; the process of microbial
adaptation is expected to be important in the environment as demonstrated by slow degradation in
soils from pristine sites ; biodegradation may be very slow when oxygen availability is
limited . Measured log Koc values of 3.70-4.21(6-8) indicate that fluorene is generally immobile
in soil. Volatilization from soil surfaces does not appear to be an important environmental
AQUATIC FATE: When released to water, fluorene will adsorb strongly to sediments and
suspended matter as indicate by measured log Koc values of 3.70-4.21(1-3). The results of one
adsorption study with sediment has shown that adsorption is an important fate process . In
addition, numerous monitoring studies have detected fluorene in sediments from a wide variety of
water bodies. Volatilization of non-adsorbed fluorene from water may be important (estimated
half-lives of 15 and 167 hr from a model river and model pond respectively)(5-6,SRC). The
results of biological screening studies have shown that fluorene biodegrades readily (aerobically)
in the presence of acclimated microbes(7-10); biodegradation may be slow in pristine waters or
under condition of limited oxygen(8-9).
AQUATIC FATE: In experimental pond ecosystem studies, fluorene was observed to have
disappearance half-lives ranging from 6.3 to 27.4 days ; the half-lives generally increased with
increases in the amount of fluorene initially added to the pond . In degradation studies using
water and sediment from the Narragansett Bay (RI) and estuarine areas of Charleston, SC and
Savannah, GA, fluorene was observed to have half-lives (as determined by 14-CO2 evolution)
ranging from 11 to 180 days ; degradation was faster in systems containing materials from
previously exposed (to oil-petroleum contamination) areas ; it was considered that microbial
adaptation was the reason for the more rapid degradation .
ATMOSPHERIC FATE: Based upon a vapor pressure of 3.2X10-4 mm Hg at 20 deg C ,
fluorene is expected to exist primarily in the vapor phase in the ambient atmosphere(1-2,SRC);
vapor phase fluorene will degrade readily in the ambient atmosphere by reaction with
photochemically produced hydroxyl radicals (estimated half-life of about 29 hr)(3,SRC). Fluorene
has been detected in rain, snow and fog samples(4-5), therefore, physical removal from air can
occur through wet and dry deposition. Monitoring of precipitation samples has shown that
fluorene exists primarily in the dissolved-phase ; small fractions (10% or less) may exist in the
particulate phase in snow or winter rain . Ambient air monitoring has shown that relatively
small percentages of atmospheric fluorene are associated with particulate-phase material(6-7).
Photodegradation on particulates is highly dependent on the absorbing substrate(8); substrates
containing more than 5% carbon can stabilize photodegradation and permit long range global
|Drinking Water Impact|| GROUND WATER: FLUORENE WAS IDENTIFIED IN GROUNDWATER NEAR
A FORMER CREOSOTE PLANT IN PENSACOLA, FL.
In Eastern Ontario drinking waters (June - Oct 1978): 0.04 - 1.8 ng/l (n= 12); In Eastern Ontario
raw waters (June - Oct 1978): 0.4 - 0.9 ng/l (n= 2).
DRINKING WATER: Fluorene concns of 4 to 16 ng/l have been reported to occur in tap water
(specific sources not available) . Concns of 0.6-1.5 ng/l have been reported for Japanese tap
waters . Samples collected in Jan and Jul/Aug 1980 from 12 Great Lakes municipality drinking
water supplies had fluorene concns of 0 to 105 ng/l ; concns were generally higher in the
winter . Samples of Ottawa, Canada drinking water collected in Jan-Feb 1978 contained levels
of 0.15-2.2 ng/l ; samples from five municipalities in eastern Ontario (collected in Jun and Oct
1978) contained levels of 0.04-1.2 ng/l . Various Scandanavian tap waters sampled in 1980 had
fluorene levels ranging from <1.1 to 20 ng/l(6). A Japanese tap water sampled in Tobata-ku,
Kitakyushu, Japan had a fluorene concn of 1.5 ppb(7).
SURFACE WATER: Fluorene concns of 4.1 to 102.1 ng/l have been reported to occur in
surface waters (specific sources not available) . Fluorene concns of 1.4-9.3 ng/l were detected
in samples collected from the Rainy River (between Ontario and Minnesota) in 1988 . Water
samples collected from the central and eastern regions of Lake Superior in Aug 1986 had an avg
dissolved fluorene concn of 0.63 ng/l . Water samples taken from the Mackenzie River
(Canada) in 1986 contained fluorene levels of 0.04-1.173 ug/l . Monitoring conducted in the
summer of 1984 found fluorene concns of 1-2 ng/l in Mississippi River water collected at the
inflow of the Ohio River and at Memphis, TN .
GROUNDWATER: Groundwater samples collected near an abandoned disposal pit for
wood-creosoting waste (in Conroe, TX) contained fluorene levels of 120-300 ug/l ; levels in
groundwater collected from pristine sites (not contaminated by the disposal pit) were below
detection limits of 0.1 ug/l . Groundwater collected from an aquifer beneath a coal gasification
facility in WY contained levels of 8-18 ppb . Ground waters collected from an alluvial aquifer
near the polluted Sava River in Croatia between 1986 and 1989 had fluorene levels of 1-10
RAIN/SNOW: Twenty-two fog water samples collected in the autumn of 1986 in Zurich
Switzerland had an avg fluorene concn of 0.26 ng/ml and a range of 0.04-0.38 ng/ml . The
following mean concns of fluorene were detected in various forms of precipitation collected in
Switzerland in 1985 : snow-17.6 ng/l; winter rain-33 ng/l; spring rain-12 ng/l; summer rain-8.4
ng/l ; a small fraction (10% or less) of the fluorene detected in snow and winter rain was in the
particulate phase as opposed to the dissolved-phase . Snow pack samples collected near Sault
Ste Marie, Ontario contained fluorene levels of <0.05-0.237 ug/l . Monitoring conducted in
Portland, OR between Feb and Apr 1984 detected an avg dissolved-phase rainwater concn of 14
ng/l m and an avg particulate phase concn of 0.44 ng/l m(4-5). Rainwater samples collected in
Portland, OR during Mar-Apr and Oct-Dec 1982 contained respective avg fluorene concns of 3.2
and 43 ng/l(6).
OTHER: In preliminary findings of the USEPA's National Urban Runoff Program (urban
stormwater runoff), fluorene was detected in runnoff in only one (Eugene, OR) of 15 reporting
cities (concn 1 ug/l) .
EFFL: In wood preservative sludge: 6.61 g/l of raw sludge.
In leachate from test panels freshly coated with coal tar: Influent: 0.001 ug/l; Effluent: 0.021
Fluorene concns of 0.61 to 51.6 mg/kg have been reported to occur in sewage sludge (specific
sources not available) . Final water effluents collected from two pulp mills on the Rainy River
between Ontario and Minnesota in 1988 contained fluorene levels of 37.1-67.6 ng/l .
Wastewater samples collected from two unspecified coke plants contained fluorene levels of 0 to
1 ug/l . Emission tests with a gasoline-fueled automobile (1984 Volvo) measured fluorene
emission rates of 11-42 ug/km . Fluorene levels of 4-3500 ug/kg were detected in municipal
incinerator ash during a 1987 survey of 18 US municipal waste incinerators . Fly ash samples
collected from municipal waste incinerators in Japan, Canada and the Netherlands were found to
contain fluorene levels of <0.5 to 64 ng/g(6-7). The emission rate of fluorene from a large Italian
waste incinerator was 81 ng/cu m(8); waste ash had levels of 6-64 ng/g(8).
Exhaust gas from a gas turbine engine contained fluorene levels of 0.10 to 3.85 ng/cu m . An
analysis of emissions from wood stoves burning various fuels (wood, newspaper, domestic waste,
etc) found fluorene levels of 0.089-11.4 mg/cu m . Gas-phase fluorene emissions of 1.23-1.436
ug/cu m were detected in exhaust from a diesel engine . Monitoring of a gasoline engine (1983
Honda Civic) and a diesel engine (1982 Volkswagen Rabbit) detected fluorene exhaust concns of
4.3-7.5 and 2.7-4.9 ug/cu m respectively .