Levels of Perfluorinated Chemicals in Municipal Drinking Water from Catalonia, Spain: Public Health Implications
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In this study, the concentrations of 13 perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) (PFBuS, PFHxS, PFOS, THPFOS, PFHxA, PFHpA, PFOA, PFNA, PFDA, PFUnDA, PFDoDA, PFTDA, and PFOSA) were analyzed in municipal drinking water samples collected at 40 different locations from 5 different zones of Catalonia, Spain. Detection limits ranged between 0.02 (PFHxS) and 0.85 ng/L (PFOA). The most frequent compounds were PFOS and PFHxS, which were detected in 35 and 31 samples, with maximum concentrations of 58.1 and 5.30 ng/L, respectively. PFBuS, PFHxA, and PFOA were also frequently detected (29, 27, and 26 samples, respectively), with maximum levels of 69.4, 8.55, and 57.4 ng/L. In contrast, PFDoDA and PFTDA could not be detected in any sample. The most contaminated water samples were found in the Barcelona Province, whereas none of the analyzed PFCs could be detected in two samples (Banyoles and Lleida), and only one PFC could be detected in four of the samples. Assuming a human water consumption of 2 L/day, the maximum daily intake of PFOS and PFOA from municipal drinking water would be, for a subject of 70 kg of body weight, 1.7 and 1.6 ng/kg/day. This is clearly lower than the respective Tolerable Daily Intake set by the European Food Safety Authority. In all samples, PFOS and PFOA also showed lower levels than the short-term provisional health advisory limit for drinking water (200 ng PFOS/L and 400 ng PFOA/L) set by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Although PFOS and PFOA concentrations found in drinking water in Catalonia are not expected to pose human health risks, safety limits for exposure to the remaining PFCs are clearly necessary, as health-based drinking water concentration protective for lifetime exposure is set to 40 ng/L for PFOA.
This study was financially supported by the Catalan Public Health Agency, Department of Health, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
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