Distribution, partitioning behavior and potential source of legacy and alternative per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in water and sediments from a subtropical Gulf, South China Sea

By Xiao, Shao-Ke, Qi Wu, Chang-Gui Pan, Chao Yin, Ying-Hui Wang, and Ke-Fu Yu
Environ. Res.
June 23, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.111485

Legacy per- and polyfluoroalkyl acids (PFASs) have received global concern over the scientific and public community since this century. However, the information on alternative PFASs pollution in the marine environment, especially in the subtropical marine environment is extremely limited. This study investigated the occurrence, partitioning, potential sources, and ecological risks of PFASs, including perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs), perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs), and alternative PFASs, in surface water and sediments from the subtropical Beibu Gulf, South China. Concentrations of total PFASs (∑PFASs) were in the range of 0.98–2.64 ng/L in water and 0.19–0.66 ng/g (dry weight, dw) in sediment, respectively. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was the most abundant PFAS in water, while PFASs in sediment were dominated by perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and PFOA. Among investigated environmental parameters (total organic carbon (TOC), grain size, water pH, sediment pH, and salinity), TOC and salinity were the dominant factors influencing the sediment-water distribution coefficient (Kd) of PFOA, perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA). Log Kd and log soil organic carbon-water distribution coefficient (Koc) both increase with increasing carbon chain length of PFASs. Significantly positive correlations between PFOS and perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) (p < 0.05), PFOA and perfluoro-1-butane-sulfonamide (FBSA) were observed, suggesting that these PFASs might have similar sources and transport routes. Preliminary environmental risk assessment showed that PFOA and PFOS would not pose risks to the marine aquatic environment. This is the first comprehensive survey of legacy and alternative PFASs in a subtropical area of the Beibu Gulf, which provides significant data and scientific basis to better understand the fate of PFASs and pollution control management.


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