National Screening Study on 10 Perfluorinated Compounds in Raw and Treated Tap Water in France

  • Virginie Boiteux
  • Xavier Dauchy
  • Christophe Rosin
  • Jean-François Munoz


The occurrence of seven perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) and three perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFASs) was studied in raw- and treated-water samples from public water systems. Two sampling campaigns were performed during the summer of 2009 and in June 2010. Sampling was equally distributed across the 100 French departments. In total, 331 raw-water samples and 110 treated-water samples were analyzed during this study, representing approximately 20% of the national water supply flow. Concentrations of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) were determined using automated solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. In raw-water samples, the highest individual PFC concentration was 139 ng/L for perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA). The sum of all of the determined components was >100 ng/L at three sampling points (199, 117, and 115 ng/L). Of the investigated PFCs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and PFHxA predominated (detected in 27%, 13%, 11%, and 7% of samples, respectively). Geographical variability was observed, with departments crossed by major rivers or with high population densities being more affected by PFC contamination. Compared with raw water, short-chain PFCAs, but not PFASs, were found in higher abundance in treated water. This difference suggests a relative effectiveness of certain water treatments for the elimination of PFASs but also a possible degradation of PFCA precursors by water-treatment processes. Our investigations did not show any heavily contaminated sites. In treated-water samples, the highest individual PFC concentration was 125 ng/L for PFHxA. The sum of all of the determined components was >100 ng/L at one sampling point (156 ng/L). The values observed for PFOS and PFOA in drinking water were not greater than the health-based drinking-water concentration protectives for lifetime exposure that have been defined for other countries.


Sampling Campaign Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Perfluorooctane Sulfonamide Perfluorobutane Sulfonate Perfluorohexane Sulfonate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was supported by the French Ministry of Health. We thank the departmental and regional Ministry of Health personnel for their invaluable contributions to this work in collecting water samples as well as their helpful comments and continued support. We also thank John Washington (USEPA, Athens, GA) for helpful suggestions during the preparation of this manuscript. This work was conducted through the cooperative efforts of the staff, including Marie-Christelle Clavos, Caroline Hollard, and Agnès Ortar, at the Nancy Laboratory for Hydrology of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. The authors also thank Alix Ehringer for help provided during her internship.

Supplementary material

244_2012_9754_MOESM1_ESM.doc (770 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 770 kb)


  1. 2008/105/EC D (2008) Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on environmental quality standards in the field of water policyGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahrens L (2011) Polyfluoroalkyl compounds in the aquatic environment: A review of their occurrence and fate. J Environ Monit 13:20–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson-Mahoney P, Kotlerman J, Takhar H, Gray D, Dahlgren J (2008) Self-reported health effects among community residents exposed to perfluorooctanoate. New Solut 18:129–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bjork JA, Wallace KB (2009) Structure-activity relationships and human relevance for perfluoroalkyl acid-induced transcriptional activation of peroxisome proliferation in liver cell cultures. Toxicol Sci 111:89–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Calafat AM, Wong LY, Kuklenyik Z, Reidy JA, Needham LL (2007) Polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in the U.S. population: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2004 and comparisons with NHANES 1999–2000. Environ Health Perspect 115:1596–1602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. De Silva AO, Mabury SA (2006) Isomer distribution of perfluorocarboxylates in human blood: Potential correlation to source. Environ Sci Technol 40:2903–2909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. D’Eon JC, Mabury SA (2007) Production of perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) from the biotransformation of polyfluoroalkyl phosphate surfactants (PAPS): Exploring routes of human contamination. Environ Sci Technol 41:4799–4805CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. D’Eon JC, Crozier PW, Furdui VI, Reiner EJ, Libelo EL, Mabury SA (2009) Observation of a commercial fluorinated material, the polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid diesters, in human sera, wastewater treatment plant sludge, and paper fibers. Environ Sci Technol 43:4589–4594CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dinglasan-Panlilio MJA, Mabury SA (2006) Significant residual fluorinated alcohols present in various fluorinated materials. Environ Sci Technol 40:1447–1453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellis DA, Martin JW, De Silva AO, Mabury SA, Hurley MD, Sulbaek Andersen MP et al (2004) Degradation of fluorotelomer alcohols: A likely atmospheric source of perfluorinated carboxylic acids. Environ Sci Technol 38:3316–3321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Emmett EA, Zhang H, Shofer FS, Freeman D, Rodway NV, Desai C et al (2006) Community exposure to perfluorooctanoate: Relationships between serum levels and certain health parameters. J Occup Environl Med 48:771–779CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Giesy JP, Kannan K (2002) Peer reviewed: Perfluorochemical surfactants in the environment. Environ Sci Technol 36:146A–152ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Giesy JP, Naile JE, Khim JS, Jones PD, Newsted JL (2010) Aquatic toxicology of perfluorinated chemicals. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol 202:1–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Higgins CP, Luthy RG (2006) Sorption of perfluorinated surfactants on sediments. Environ Sci Technol 40:7251–7256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hölzer J, Midasch O, Rauchfuss K, Kraft M, Reupert R, Angerer J et al (2008) Biomonitoring of perfluorinated compounds in children and adults exposed to perfluorooctanoate-contaminated drinking water. Environ Health Perspect 116:651–657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ju X, Jin Y, Sasaki K, Saito N (2008) Perfluorinated surfactants in surface, subsurface water and microlayer from Dalian coastal waters in China. Environ Sci Technol 42:3538–3542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kelly BC, Ikonomou MG, Blair JD, Surridge B, Hoover D, Grace R et al (2009) Perfluoroalkyl contaminants in an arctic marine food web: Trophic magnification and wildlife exposure. Environ Sci Technol 43:4037–4043CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kunacheva C, Tanaka S, Fujii S, Boontanon SK, Musirat C, Wongwattana T et al (2011) Mass flows of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in central wastewater treatment plants of industrial zones in Thailand. Chemosphere 83:737–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kwok KY, Taniyasu S, Yeung LWY, Murphy MB, Lam PKS, Horii Y et al (2010) Flux of perfluorinated chemicals through wet deposition in Japan, the United States, and several other countries. Environ Sci Technol 44:7043–7049CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lau C, Anitole K, Hodes C, Lai D, Pfahles-Hutchens A, Seed J (2007) Perfluoroalkyl acids: A review of monitoring and toxicological findings. Toxicol Sci 99:366–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lee H, D’eon J, Mabury SA (2010) Biodegradation of polyfluoroalkyl phosphates as a source of perfluorinated acids to the environment. Environ Sci Technol 44:3305–3310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu J, Lee LS, Nies LF, Nakatsu CH, Turco RF (2007) Biotransformation of 8:2 fluorotelomer alcohol in soil and by soil bacteria isolates. Environ Sci Technol 41:8024–8030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Loos R, Gawlik BM, Locoro G, Rimaviciute E, Contini S, Bidoglio G (2009) EU-wide survey of polar organic persistent pollutants in European river waters. Environ Pollut 157:561–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Loos R, Locoro G, Comero S, Contini S, Schwesig D, Werres F et al (2010) Pan-European survey on the occurrence of selected polar organic persistent pollutants in ground water. Water Res 44:4115–4126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mak YL, Taniyasu S, Yeung LWY, Lu G, Jin L, Yang Y et al (2009) Perfluorinated compounds in tap water from China and several other countries. Environ Sci Technol 43:4824–4829CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Martin JW, Kannan K, Berger U, Voogt PD, Field J, Franklin J et al (2004) Peer reviewed: Analytical challenges hamper perfluoroalkyl research. Environ Sci Technol 38:248A–255ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. MDH, Minnesota Department of Health (2009a) East Metro Perfluorochemical Biomonitoring Pilot Project, pp 1–116Google Scholar
  28. MDH, Minnesota Department of Health (2009b) Health risk limits for groundwater 2008 rule revision: Perfluorooctane sulfonate, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  29. MDH, Minnesota Department of Health (2009c) Health risk limits for groundwater 2008 rule revision: Perfluorooctanoic acid, pp 1–9Google Scholar
  30. Moody CA, Field JA (2000) Perfluorinated surfactants and the environmental implications of their use in fire-fighting foams. Environ Sci Technol 34:3864–3870CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Murakami M, Kuroda K, Sato N, Fukushi T, Takizawa S, Takada H (2009) Groundwater pollution by perfluorinated surfactants in Tokyo. Environ Sci Technol 43:3480–3486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nakayama SF, Strynar MJ, Reiner JL, Delinsky AD, Lindstrom AB (2010) Determination of perfluorinated compounds in the Upper Mississippi River Basin. Environ Sci Technol 44:4103–4109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olsen GW, Mair DC, Church TR, Ellefson ME, Reagen WK, Boyd TM et al (2008) Decline in perfluorooctanesulfonate and other polyfluoroalkyl chemicals in American Red Cross adult blood donors, 2000–2006. Environ Sci Technol 42:4989–4995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Phillips MMM, Dinglasan-Panlilio MJA, Mabury SA, Solomon KR, Sibley PK (2007) Fluorotelomer acids are more toxic than perfluorinated acids. Environ Sci Technol 41:7159–7163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Plumlee MH, Larabee J, Reinhard M (2008) Perfluorochemicals in water reuse. Chemosphere 72:1541–1547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Post GB, Louis JB, Cooper KR, Boros-Russo BJ, Lippincott RL (2009) Occurrence and potential significance of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) detected in New Jersey public drinking water systems. Environ Sci Technol 43:4547–4554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Prevedouros K, Cousins IT, Buck RC, Korzeniowski SH (2006) Sources, fate and transport of perfluorocarboxylates. Environ Sci Technol 40:32–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Quiñones O, Snyder SA (2009) Occurrence of perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and sulfonates in drinking water utilities and related waters from the United States. Environ Sci Technol 43:9089–9095CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rayne S, Forest K (2009) Perfluoroalkyl sulfonic and carboxylic acids: A critical review of physicochemical properties, levels and patterns in waters and wastewaters, and treatment methods. J Environ Sci Health A Tox Hazard Subst Environ Eng 44:1145–1199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Renner R (2001) Growing concern over perfluorinated chemicals. Environ Sci Technol 35:154A–160ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Renner R (2006) The long and the short of perfluorinated replacements. Environ Sci Technol 40:12–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Renner R (2007) PFOA in people. Environ Sci Technol 41:4497–4500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rhoads KR, Janssen EML, Luthy RG, Criddle CS (2008) Aerobic biotransformation and fate of N-ethyl perfluorooctane sulfonamidoethanol (N-EtFOSE) in activated sludge. Environ Sci Technol 42:2873–2878CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schultz MM, Barofsky DF, Field JA (2004) Quantitative determination of fluorotelomer sulfonates in groundwater by LC MS/MS. Environ Sci Technol 38:1828–1835CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Scott BF, Spencer C, Mabury SA, Muir DCG (2006) Poly and perfluorinated carboxylates in North American precipitation. Environ Sci Technol 40:7167–7174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shivakoti BR, Tanaka S, Fujii S, Kunacheva C, Boontanon SK, Musirat C et al (2010) Occurrences and behavior of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in several wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in Japan and Thailand. J Environ Monit 12:1255–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Shoeib M, Harner T, Ikonomou M, Kannan K (2004) Indoor and outdoor air concentrations and phase partitioning of perfluoroalkyl sulfonamides and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Environ Sci Technol 38:1313–1320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Skutlarek D, Exner M, Färber H (2006) Perfluorinated surfactants in surface and drinking waters. Environ Sci Pollut Res 13:299–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steenland K, Jin C, MacNeil J, Lally C, Ducatman A, Vieira V et al (2009) Predictors of PFOA levels in a community surrounding a chemical plant. Environ Health Perspect 117:1083–1088Google Scholar
  50. Steenland K, Fletcher T, Savitz DA (2010) Epidemiologic evidence on the health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Environ Health Perspect 118:1100–1108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stock NL, Lau FK, Ellis DA, Martin JW, Muir DCG, Mabury SA (2004) Polyfluorinated telomer alcohols and sulfonamides in the north american troposphere. Environ Sci Technol 38:991–996CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Takagi S, Adachi F, Miyano K, Koizumi Y, Tanaka H, Mimura M et al (2008) Perfluorooctanesulfonate and perfluorooctanoate in raw and treated tap water from Osaka, Japan. Chemosphere 72:1409–1412CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Takagi S, Adachi F, Miyano K, Koizumi Y, Tanaka H, Watanabe I, et al. (2011) Fate of perfluorooctanesulfonate and perfluorooctanoate in drinking water treatment processes. Water ResGoogle Scholar
  54. Taniyasu S, Kannan K, So MK, Gulkowska A, Sinclair E, Okazawa T et al (2005) Analysis of fluorotelomer alcohols, fluorotelomer acids, and short- and long-chain perfluorinated acids in water and biota. J Chromatogr A 1093:89–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Trinkwasserkommission (2006, June) Provisional evaluation of PFT in drinking water with the guide substances perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) as examplesGoogle Scholar
  56. United States Enviromental Protection Agency (2009, January) Provisional health advisories for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)Google Scholar
  57. Wang N, Szostek B, Buck RC, Folsom PW, Sulecki LM, Gannon JT (2009) 8–2 Fluorotelomer alcohol aerobic soil biodegradation: Pathways, metabolites, and metabolite yields. Chemosphere 75:1089–1096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Washington JW, Ellington JJ, Jenkins TM, Evans JJ, Yoo H, Hafner SC (2009) Degradability of an acrylate-linked, fluorotelomer polymer in soil. Environ Sci Technol 43:6617–6623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Washington JW, Yoo H, Ellington JJ, Jenkins TM, Libelo EL (2010) Concentrations, distribution, and persistence of perfluoroalkylates in sludge-applied soils near Decatur, Alabama, USA. Environ Sci Technol 44:8390–8396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wilhelm M, Kraft M, Rauchfuss K, Hölzer J (2008) Assessment and management of the first German case of a contamination with perfluorinated compounds (PFC) in the region Sauerland, North Rhine-Westphalia. J Toxicol Environ Health A 71:725–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wilhelm M, Bergmann S, Dieter HH (2010) Occurrence of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in drinking water of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and new approach to assess drinking water contamination by shorter-chained C4–C7 PFCs. Int J Hygiene Environ Health 213:224–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Woldegiorgis A, Andersson J, Remberger M, Kaj L, Ekheden Y, Blom L, et al. (2006) Results from the Swedish National Screening Programme 2005. Subreport 3: Perfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS), pp 1–48Google Scholar
  63. Yeung LWY, Yamashita N, Taniyasu S, Lam PKS, Sinha RK, Borole DV et al (2009) A survey of perfluorinated compounds in surface water and biota including dolphins from the Ganges River and in other waterbodies in India. Chemosphere 76:55–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Virginie Boiteux
    • 1
  • Xavier Dauchy
    • 1
  • Christophe Rosin
    • 1
  • Jean-François Munoz
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Chemistry DepartmentNancy Laboratory for Hydrology, ANSESNancyFrance

Personalised recommendations