Perfluoroalkyl acids in rapidly developing coastal areas of China and South Korea: Spatiotemporal variation and source apportionment

By Bin, Shi, Wang Tieyu, Yang Hongfa, Zhou Yunqiao, Bi Ran, Yang Lu, Seo Joon Yoon, Taewoo Kim, and Jong Seong Khim
Sci Total Environ
November 24, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143297

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are recognized as emerging contaminants that have captured worldwide attention. They are primarily transported in environments and spread around the globe due to their persistent and bioaccumulative characteristics. In this study, 15 PFASs were detected in major rivers of the rapidly developing coastal areas of China and South Korea. The concentrations and compositions of these PFASs varied greatly between different regions along the coastline. The total concentrations ranged from 14.9 to 16,500 ng L-1, and the mean concentrations of Σ15PFASs in Liaodong Bay, Bohai Bay, Laizhou Bay, and the west coast of South Korea were 124 ng L-1, 81.4 ng L-1, 1550 ng L-1, and 36.2 ng L-1, respectively. In Laizhou Bay, the relatively high perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was due to the high usage and manufacturing of PFOA-containing products and contributed 59% of the total compounds. In Liaodong Bay and Bohai Bay, PFBA and PFOA were the most abundant compounds, accounting for >55% of the total compounds. Along the west coast of South Korea, PFBA and PFPeA were the most prevalent compounds, contributing 28% and 24% of the total compounds, respectively. The data collected in the last decade were analyzed to investigate the temporal trends of selected PFASs. The total concentration of Σ10 PFASs decreased in both China and South Korea, while the proportion of short-chain PFASs increased. The proportion of C4-C7 PFCAs in South Korea rapidly increased from 46% to 79% but decreased from 49% to 43% in China. The positive matrix factorization (PMF) model successfully addressed the site-specific source apportionment, which showed that 53% of the PFASs in Laizhou Bay were due to fluorine manufacturing. The results of this study provide novel insights into elucidating the spatiotemporal distribution and complicated sources of PFASs over a large area and provide a clear message for all stakeholders, water and coastal managers, and scientists.


View on PubMed