EPA Science Inventory

A global survey of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in surface soils in remote and urban environments

Citation:

Rankin, K., S. Mabury, J. Washington, AND T. Jenkins. A global survey of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in surface soils in remote and urban environments. Presented at 34th Annual SETAC North America, Nashville, TN, November 17 - 21, 2013.

Description:

The heightened attention placed on perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) over the past decades has led to their detection in many environmental and biological compartments. A detailed understanding of PFAS levels in these compartments is an important step towards elucidating the precise relationship on their transport, fate and exposure. In the present study, 64 surface soils (depth of ~10 cm) were collected from 21 different countries on all continents (North America n = 35, Europe n = 10, Asia n = 6, Africa n = 5, Australia n = 4, South America n = 3 and Antartica n = 1). Collection of the soils was performed with the help of colleagues worldwide, who were instructed to follow a specific sampling protocol to ensure homogeneity amongst the samples and minimize contaminations. Sampling sites included both urban and rural environments giving a diverse range of soil types. Soil samples were promptly shipped to the USEPA’s Ecosystems Research Division laboratory in Athens, GA where they were exhaustively extracted and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Each soil was analyzed for a suite of PFASs that included perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and sulfonates, fluorotelomer saturated and unsaturated carboxylic acids, and perfluoroalkane sulfonamides and sulfoamidoacetic acids. Analysis revealed detectable levels of PFASs ranging from pg/g to low ng/g with perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) observed to being the dominant up to ~3 and 1 ng/g, respectively. Locations nearest urban and industrial centers showed the highest levels of PFASs when compared to more rural locations. The detection of PFASs in rural locations led us to postulate about possible sources and modes of transportation. For example, a location in Conyers, GA (~30 miles east of Atlanta, GA) known to have very minimal modern activity post 1930s had detectable PFOA and PFOS of ~1.3 and 1 ng/g respectively, and implies deposition of atmospheric sources. This study provides new insight into the global distribution of PFASs in soils and considered locations not previously examined.

Purpose/Objective:

Poster presented at SETAC North America 34th in Nashville, TN (Nov 17-21, 2013)

URLs/Downloads:

http://nashville.setac.org/   Exit

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/POSTER)
Start Date: 04/10/2014
Completion Date: 04/10/2014
Record Last Revised: 04/25/2014
Record Created: 04/10/2014
Record Released: 04/10/2014
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 273037

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL EXPOSURE RESEARCH LAB

ECOSYSTEMS RESEARCH DIVISION