Legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in sediments from the East China Sea and the Yellow Sea: Occurrence, source apportionment and environmental risk assessment

By Zhong, Huifang, Minggang Zheng, Yong Liang, Yingjun Wang, Wei Gao, Yawei Wang, and Guibin Jiang
June 9, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.131042

The Yellow Sea (YS), the East China Sea (ECS) and their coastal areas have undergone rapid urbanization and industrialization. These areas are important sinks for many persistent organic pollutants. In this study, the concentration of legacy and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in marine sediments from the YS and ECS were investigated. Nineteen PFAS were identified, ranging in concentration from 0.21 ng/g to 4.74 ng/g (mean: 1.60 ng/g). Legacy long-chain PFAS [e.g., perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)] were the dominant contaminants. Alternative PFAS such as 6:2 chlorinated polyfluorinated ether sulfonate (6:2 Cl-PFESA) and 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(1,1,2,2,3,3,3-heptafluoropropoxy) propanoic acid (HFPO-DA) were identified within the detection range of 16%–100%. HFPO-DA was measured in all sediments in equivalent levels to PFOS (0.119 ng/g and 0.139 ng/g, respectively). This is the first reported occurrence of perfluoro-1-butanesulfonamide (FBSA) and HFPO-DA in marine sediments, indicating a replacement in the production of PFAS from legacy to emerging ones along with eastern coastal cities of China. The results of the potential source identification demonstrated that metal plating plants, textile treatments, fluoropolymer products, food packaging, and the degradation of volatile precursor substances were the main sources of PFAS in the ECS and YS. The environmental risk assessment based on the risk quotient demonstrated that PFOA and PFOS in the ECS and YS may present a low to medium risk at most sampling points.


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