Bioaccumulation of perfluoroalkyl substances in greenhouse vegetables with long-term groundwater irrigation near fluorochemical plants in Fuxin, China

By Jia Bao, Cheng-Long Li, Yang Liu, Xin Wang, Wen-Jing Yu, Zhi-Qun Liu, Li-Xin Shao, and Yi-He Jin
Environ. Res.
June 17, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.109751

The levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been growing progressively in the groundwater beneath a fluorochemical industrial park (FIP) in Fuxin of China recently, however, little information is available about whether long-term irrigation with local groundwater could have a potential effect on the bioaccumulation of PFASs in greenhouse vegetables near the FIP. In the present study, groundwater, soil, and vegetable samples were collected from Fuxin with five sampling campaigns during a period of 40 days, and ten target analytes of PFASs in all the samples were analyzed via high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). As the dominant PFAS contaminants, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) in groundwater samples were determined with the maximum levels of 2.47 and 32.4 μg L, respectively. Furthermore, perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA), PFOA, and PFBS were the major PFASs in greenhouse samples of soil (up to 6.1, 6.8, and 46 ng g dry weight (dw)), tomato (up to 87, 1.7, and 13 ng g dw), and cucumber (up to 63, 2.6, and 15 ng g dw), which were significantly correlated with those in groundwater samples, indicating PFAS contaminations could be introduced into soil and vegetables in the greenhouse through long-term groundwater irrigation. In addition, all the levels of three main PFAS analytes in soil and vegetables presented an overall increasing trend over the period of vegetable growth. The bioaccumulation efficiencies for PFAS contaminants from soil to vegetables were negatively associated with the carbon chain length in PFASs. According to the reference dose (RfD) for PFBA, PFOA, and PFBS from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), daily intakes of those three analytes by rural residents in Fuxin were lower than the respective RfD via consumption of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers so far. However, long-term surveillance would be focused on greenhouse vegetables near the Fuxin FIP to prevent potential health risks of local residents from increasing PFAS contaminations.

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