Is it raining PFAS in France? An analysis of 52 PFAS at ng/L levels in French rainwaters during Autumn season

By Margaux Berthou, Violaine Gérard, Matthieu Pélingre, Alexandra Bagard, Thibault Le Batteux, and Guillaume Losfeld
J Environ Qual
October 27, 2023
DOI: 10.1002/jeq2.20525

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are of increasing concern due to their pervasive nature, high persistence and their impacts on human health and the environment. Many studies have attempted to assess the presence of PFAS along the water cycle, but few have analyzed rainwater PFAS content and its contribution to water contamination. The present study aims to improve the knowledge by providing the first analysis of PFAS rainwater samples from France (Europe). A total of 52 PFAS were analyzed at ng/L levels in rainwater samples collected in 14 locations in France using a cutting-edge LC/MS/MS method for multiresidue determination. Depending on the quantity of rainwater collected, the PFAS concentrations were analyzed either by direct injection or after Solid Phase Extraction (SPE), allowing to quantify 20 PFAS with a limit of quantification (LOQ) ≤ 100 ng/L and 52 PFAS with a LOQ ≤ 1 ng/L, respectively. For the 5 locations for which the collected samples were analyzed by direct injection, no PFAS could be detected (i.e. their concentrations in the samples were below the LOQs of the method). The samples from 4 locations out of the 9 analyzed by SPE-LC/MS/MS show results above the method's LOQs for up to 10 PFAS. Among the quantified PFAS, three compounds (PFNA, PFUnA and PFHxA) have been found to be of most significance. These results bring out the presence of PFAS in rainwater samples in France, highlighting the need for PFAS environmental surveillance and risk assessment and the necessity of continuous improvement of existing analysis methods. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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