Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs): Distribution, trends and aquatic ecological risk assessment in surface water from Tagus River basin (Spain).

Affiliation

Group of Persistent Organic Pollutants, Department of Environment, CIEMAT, Avda. Complutense 40, 28040, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Rivers can receive the input of treated or untreated sewage effluents from wastewater treatment plants, urban and industrial discharges and agricultural run-off, becoming an important pathway for the transport and mobilization of pollutants to the oceans. In the present study, the occurrence of 20 PFAAs was determined in the water of Tagus River basin (Spain). PFAAs were detected in 76 out of 92 water samples collected during 5 years (2013-2018), being perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) the predominant compound (<0.01-34 ng/L). The annual average PFOS concentrations (2.9-11 ng/L) detected in Tagus River were above the annual average environmental quality standards (AA-EQS) established in the Directive, 2013/39/EU (0.65 ng/L for inland surface waters) but below the maximum allowable concentration (MAC-EQS; 36000 ng/L). The levels of PFAAs detected in urban and industrial areas were statistically higher (p < 0.01) than those at background or remote areas. The mass flow rates amounted to <0.01-46 kg/y for PFOS and <0.01-22 kg/y for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). A quantitative ecotoxicological risk assessment was conducted to evaluate the environmental potential risk related to PFAAs in the aquatic ecosystem. Risk characterization ratios (RCRwater, RCRsed and RCRoral, fish) were below 1 in all cases.

Keywords

Emerging contaminants,Environmental quality standards (EQS),Perfluoroalkyl acids,Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),River water,Surface water,

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