Occurrence, distribution, and input pathways of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances in soils near different sources in Shanghai

By Qinghe Zhu, Jiahao Qian, Shenfa Huang, Qingqing Li, Lin Guo, Jun Zeng, Wei Zhang, Xinde Cao, and Jie Yang
Environ. Pollut.
June 13, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2022.119620

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are complex emerging pollutants that are widely distributed in soils. The compositions of PFAS vary according to the emission sources. However, the soil distributions of PFAS from different sources are still poorly understood. In this study, the concentrations and compositions of 18 PFAS in soils close to potential sources (industrial areas, airports, landfills, fire stations and agricultural areas) were investigated in Shanghai. The total PFAS concentrations varied from 0.64 to 294 μg∙kg−1d.w.. Among the sites, the highest PFAS concentration was found near the fire station (average = 57.9 μg∙kg−1d.w.), followed by the industrial area (average = 8.53 μg∙kg−1d.w.). The detection frequencies of the 18 PFAS ranged from 47.5%–100%. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) were detected in all samples. The detection frequencies of PFAS near the fire station were higher than those near other sources. The PFAS in soils were mainly composed of short-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C ≤ 8). Elevated concentrations of long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C > 12) were found in industrial area. Principal component analysis revealed that long-chain PFAS had different factor loadings compared to short-chain PFAS. With the exception of agricultural soils, the correlations between individual PFAS were more positive than negative. Strong positive correlations were found within three groups of perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (C5–C7, C9–C12, and C14–C18), suggesting their similar inputs and transportation pathways. The PFAS in soils around the fire station were likely directly emitted from a point source. In contrast, the PFAS in soils near the other sites had multiple input pathways, including both direct emission and precursor degradation.


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