Crowdsourcing citizens for statewide mapping of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Florida drinking water

By Thomas D. Sinkway, Qaim Mehdi, Emily K. Griffin, Keyla Correia, Camden G. Camacho, Joe Aufmuth, Carolina Ilvento, and John A. Bowden
Sci Total Environ
March 22, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.171932

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of persistent chemicals that have been associated with a diverse array of adverse environmental and human health related effects. In addition to a growing list of health concerns, PFAS are also ubiquitously used and pervasive in our natural and built environments, and they have an innate ability to be highly mobile once released into the environment with an unmatched ability to resist degradation. As such, PFAS have been detected in a wide variety of environmental matrices, including soil, water, and biota; however, the matrix that largely dictates human exposure to PFAS is drinking water, in large part due to their abundance in water sources and our reliance on drinking water. As Florida is heavily reliant upon water and its varying sources, the primary objective of this study was to survey the presence of PFAS in drinking water collected from taps from the state of Florida (United States). In this study, 448 drinking water samples were collected by networking with trained citizen scientists, with at least one sample collected from each of the 67 counties in Florida. Well water, tap water, and bottled water, all sourced from Florida, were extracted and analyzed (31 PFAS) using isotope dilution and ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography - tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS). Overall, when examining ∑PFAS: the minimum, maximum, median, and mean were ND, 219, 2.90, and 14.06 ng/L, respectively. The data herein allowed for a comparison of PFAS in drinking water geographically within the state of Florida, providing vital baseline concentrations for prospective monitoring and highlighting hotspots that require additional testing and mitigation. By incorporating citizen scientists into the study, we aimed to educate impacted communities regarding water quality issues and solutions.


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