Skip to main content

Levels of perfluorochemicals in water samples from Catalonia, Spain: is drinking water a significant contribution to human exposure?

Abstract

Background, aim, and scope

In recent years, due to a high persistence, biomagnification in food webs, presence in remote regions, and potential toxicity, perfluorochemicals (PFCs) have generated a considerable interest. The present study was aimed to determine the levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and other PFCs in drinking water (tap and bottled) and river water samples from Tarragona Province (Catalonia, Spain).

Materials and methods

Municipal drinking (tap) water samples were collected from the four most populated towns in the Tarragona Province, whereas samples of bottled waters were purchased from supermarkets. River water samples were collected from the Ebro (two samples), Cortiella, and Francolí Rivers. After pretreatment, PFC analyses were performed by HPLC-MS. Quantification was done using the internal standard method, with recoveries between 68% and 118%.

Results

In tap water, PFOS and PFOA levels ranged between 0.39 and 0.87 ng/L (0.78 and 1.74 pmol/L) and between 0.32 and 6.28 ng/L (0.77 and 15.2 pmol/L), respectively. PFHpA, PFHxS, and PFNA were also other detected PFCs. PFC levels were notably lower in bottled water, where PFOS could not be detected in any sample. Moreover, PFHpA, PFHxS, PFOA, PFNA, PFOS, PFOSA, and PFDA could be detected in the river water samples. PFOS and PFOA concentrations were between <0.24 and 5.88 ng/L (<0.48 and 11.8 pmol/L) and between <0.22 and 24.9 ng/L (<0.53 and 60.1 pmol/L), respectively.

Discussion

Assuming a human water consumption of 2 L per day, the daily intake of PFOS and PFOA by the population of the area under evaluation was calculated (0.78–1.74 and 12.6 ng, respectively). It was found that drinking water might be a source of exposure to PFCs as important as the dietary intake of these pollutants.

Conclusions

The contribution of drinking water (tap and bottled) to the human daily intake of various PFCs has been compared for the first time with data from dietary intake of these PFCs. It was noted that in certain cases, drinking water can be a source of exposure to PFCs as important as the dietary intake of these pollutants although the current concentrations were similar or lower than those reported in the literature for surface water samples from a number of regions and countries.

Recommendations and perspectives

Further studies should be carried out in order to increase the knowledge of the role of drinking water in human exposure to PFCs.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 3M (2001) Environmental monitoring—multi-city study, water, sludge, sediment, POTW effluent and landfill leachate samples. Executive summary, 3M Environmental Laboratory, St Paul, MN, June 25, 2001. http://www.ewg.org/files/multicity_full.pdf

  2. Apelberg BJ, Goldman LR, Calafat AM, Herbstman JB, Kuklenyik Z, Heidler J, Needham LL, Halden RU, Witter FR (2007) Determinants of fetal exposure to polyfluoroalkyl compounds in Baltimore, Maryland. Environ Sci Technol 41:3891–3897

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Boulanger B, Vargo J, Schnoor JL, Hornbuckle KC (2004) Detection of perfluorooctane surfactants in Great Lakes water. Environ Sci Technol 38:4064–4070

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Calafat AM, Kuklenyik Z, Reidy JA, Caudill SP, Tully JS, Needham LL (2007) Serum concentrations of 11 polyfluoroalkyl compounds in the U.S. population: data from the national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES). Environ Sci Technol 41:2237–2242

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Emmett EA, Zhang H, Shofer FS, Freeman D, Rodway NV, Desai C, Shaw LM (2006) Community exposure to perfluorooctanoate: relationships between serum levels and certain health parameters. J Occup Environ Med 48:771–779

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Ericson I, Gomez M, Nadal M, van Bavel B, Lindström G, Domingo JL (2007) Perfluorinated chemicals in blood of residents in Catalonia (Spain) in relation to age and gender: a pilot study. Environ Int 33:616–623

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ericson I, Martí-Cid R, Nadal M, van Bavel B, Lindström G, Domingo JL (2008) Human exposure to perfluorinated chemicals through the diet: intake of perfluorinated compounds in foods from the Catalan (Spain) market. J Agric Food Chem 56(5):1787–1794

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Fuentes S, Colomina MT, Vicens P, Domingo JL (2007a) Influence of maternal restraint stress on the long-lasting effects induced by prenatal exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in mice. Toxicol Lett 171:162–170

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Fuentes S, Colomina MT, Vicens P, Franco-Pons N, Domingo JL (2007b) Concurrent exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate and restraint stress during pregnancy in mice: effects on postnatal development and behavior of the offspring. Toxicol Sci 98:589–598

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Gilliland FD, Mandel JS (1993) Mortality among employees of a perfluorooctanoic acid production plant. Occup Med 35:950–954

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Guruge KS, Taniyasu S, Yamashita N, Manage PM (2007) Occurrence of fluoroalkyl surfactants in water from Sri Lanka. Organohalogen Compd 69:2796–2799

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hansen KJ, Johnson HO, Eldridge JS, Butenhoff JL, Dick LA (2002) Quantitative characterization of trace levels of PFOS and PFOA in the Tennessee River. Environ Sci Technol 36:1681–1685

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Kannan K, Tao L, Sinclair E, Pastva SD, Jude DJ, Giesy JP (2005) Perfluorinated compounds in aquatic organisms at various trophic levels in a Great Lakes food chain. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 48:559–566

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Kärrman A, Langlois I, van Bavel B, Lindström G, Oehme M (2007) Identification and pattern of perfluooroctane sulfonate (PFOS) isomers in human serum and plasma. Environ Int 33:782–788

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Loos R, Wollgast J, Huber T, Hanke G (2007) Polar herbicides, pharmaceutical products, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), and nonylphenol and its carboxylates and ethoxylates in surface and tap waters around Lake Maggiore in Northern Italy. Anal Bioanal Chem 387:1469–1478

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Nakayama S, Strynar MJ, Helfant L, Egeghy P, Ye X, Lindstrom AB (2007) Perfluorinated compounds in the Cape Fear Drainage Basin in North Carolina. Environ Sci Technol 41:5271–5276

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. OECD (2002) Hazard assessment of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts. OECD, Paris unclassified ENV/JM/RD(2002)17/Final. Document No. JT00135607

    Google Scholar 

  18. RIWA (2006) Perfluoroalkylcarboxylates and sulfonates. Emerging contaminants for drinking water supplies. In: Lange FT, Schmidt C, Brauch HJ (eds) Association of River Waterworks. RIWA, The Netherlands

    Google Scholar 

  19. Saito N, Sasaki K, Nakatome K, Harada K, Yoshinaga T, Koizumi A (2003) Perfluorooctane sulfonate concentrations in surface water in Japan. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 45:149–158

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Saito N, Harada K, Inoue K, Sasaki K, Yoshinaga T, Koizumi A (2004) Perfluorooctanoate and perfluorooctane sulfonate concentrations in surface water in Japan. J Occup Health 46:49–59

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Senthilkumar K, Ohi E, Sajwan K, Takasuga T, Kannan K (2007) Perfluorinated Compounds in river water, river sediment, market fish, and wildlife samples from Japan. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 79:427–431

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Sinclair E, Mayack DT, Roblee K, Yamashita N, Kannan K (2006) Occurrence of perfluoroalkyl surfactants in water, fish, and birds from New York State. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 50:398–410

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  23. Skutlarek D, Exner M, Farber H (2006) Perfluorinated surfactants in surface and drinking waters. Environ Sci Pollut Res 13:299–307

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. So MK, Miyake Y, Yeung WY, Ho YM, Taniyasu S, Rostkowski P, Yamashita N, Zhou BS, Shi XJ, Wang JX, Giesy JP, Yu H, Lam PK (2007) Perfluorinated compounds in the Pearl River and Yangtze River of China. Chemosphere 68:2085–2095

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  25. Takagi S, Adaci F, Watanabe I, Kannan K (2007) Concentrations of perfluorinated compounds in Yodo River system, Osaka, Japan. Organohalogen Compd 69:2808–2811

    Google Scholar 

  26. Tanaka S, Fujii S, Lien NPH, Nozoe M, Fukagawa H, Wirojanagud W, Anton A, Lindström G (2006) A simple pre-treatment procedure in PFOS and PFOA water analysis and its application in several countries. Organohalogen Compd 68:527–530

    Google Scholar 

  27. Taniyasu S, Kannan K, So MK, Gulkowska A, Sinclair E, Okazawa T, Yamashita N (2005) Analysis of fluorotelomer alcohols, fluorotelomer acids, and short- and long-chain perfluorinated acids in water and biota. J Chromatogr A 1093:89–97

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  28. Tittlemier SA, Pepper K, Seymour C, Moisey J, Bronson R, Cao XL, Dabeka RW (2007) Dietary exposure of Canadians to perfluorinated carboxylates and perfluorooctane sulfonate via consumption of meat, fish, fast foods, and food items prepared in their packaging. J Agric Food Chem 55:3203–3210

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  29. UKFSA (2006) Fluorinated chemicals: UK dietary intakes. Food survey information sheet 11/06. United Kingdom Food Standards Agency, http://www.food.gov.uk/science/surveillance/fsisbranch2006/fsis1106

  30. van Leeuwen SP, Kärrman A, van Bavel B, de Boer J, Lindström G (2007) Struggle for quality in determination of perfluorinated contaminants in environmental and human samples. Environ Sci Technol 40:7854–7861

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Weremiuk AM, Gerstmann S, Frank H (2006) Quantitative determination of perfluorinated surfactants in water by LC-ESI-MS/MS. J Sep Sci 29:2251–2255

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  32. Yoshida M, Kobuke Y, Nakano T (2007) Contamination of PFOA and PFOS in the rivers of Hyogo Pref., Japan. Organohalogen Compd 69:2881–2884

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgement

This study was supported financially by the Health Department, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Helena Nilsson is acknowledging for technical support during the extraction and LC/MS analysis.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to José L. Domingo.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Lee Young

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ericson, I., Nadal, M., van Bavel, B. et al. Levels of perfluorochemicals in water samples from Catalonia, Spain: is drinking water a significant contribution to human exposure?. Environ Sci Pollut Res 15, 614–619 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-008-0040-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Bottled water
  • Municipal drinking water
  • Perfluorinated chemicals
  • River water
  • Tarragona (Catalonia
  • Spain)