Multiple pollutants in groundwater near an abandoned Chinese fluorine chemical park: concentrations, correlations and health risk assessments

By Jiaxi Tang, Yongle Zhu, Biao Xiang, Yu Li, Ting Tan, Ying Xu & Mengxue Li
March 7, 2022
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-07201-8

Contamination and adverse effects from various pollutants often appear in abandoned industrial regions. Thus, nine groundwater samples were collected from the vicinity of the fluorochemical industry in Fuxin City, Liaoning Province, to determine concentrations of the ten heavy metals arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), nickel (Ni), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe) and mercury(Hg), as well as those of fluorine (F) and eighteen poly- and perfluorinated substances (PFASs), analyse correlation relationships, and assess the health risks for different age groups. The results showed that the levels of fluorine (F) (0.92–4.42 mg·L−1), Mn (0.0005–4.91 mg·L−1) and Fe (1.45–5.61 mg·L−1) exceeded the standard limits for drinking water. Short chain perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) (4.14–2501.42 ng·L−1), perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) (17.07–51,818.61 ng·L−1) and perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) (0.47–936.32 ng·L−1) were the predominant substances from the PFASs group. No individual PFASs levels had significant relationships with F or heavy metal contents. There was a positive relationship between short chain PFASs concentrations and water depth and a negative relationship between long chain PFASs concentration and water depth. The hazard quotient (HQ) decreased in the order F > heavy metals > PFASs and also decreased for older age groups. In addition, As, Fe, Mn and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were the main sources of risk from the heavy metal and PFASs groups, respectively.


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