Spatial distribution of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in waters from Central and South Florida

By Xuerong Li, Morgan Fatowe, Leila Lemos, and Natalia Quinete
Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
July 2, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-022-21589-w

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are notoriously persistent pollutants that are found ubiquitously present in aquatic environments. They pose a big threat to aquatic life and human health given the bioaccumulation feature and significant adverse health effects associated. In our previous study, PFAS were found in surface waters from Biscayne Bay and tap waters from the East coast of South Florida, at levels that arouse human health and ecological concerns. Considering that Florida supports millions population as well as treasured, sensitive coastal and wetland ecosystems, we have expanded the PFAS monitoring study on the occurrence, composition, spatial distribution, and potential sources encompassing tap waters from counties on the West coast of South Florida and Central Florida, and surface waters from Tampa Bay, Everglades National Park adjacent canals, Key West, including Biscayne Bay area. A total of 30 PFAS were analyzed based on solid-phase extraction (SPE) followed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). PFAS were detected in all tap water (N = 10) and surface water samples (N = 38) with total concentrations up to 169 ng L. Higher PFAS concentrations (> 60 ng L) are mostly observed from polluted rivers or coastal estuaries in Biscayne Bay, and sites nearby potential points sources (military airbases, wastewater facilities, airports, etc.). Our findings on current PFAS contamination levels from diverse aquatic environments provide additional information for the development of more stringent screening levels that are protective of human health and the environmental resources of Florida, which is ultimately anticipated as scientific understanding of PFAS is rapidly growing.

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