Longitudinal and Latitudinal Distribution of Perfluoroalkyl Compounds in the Surface Water of the Atlantic Ocean


Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) were determined in 2 L surface water samples collected in the Atlantic Ocean onboard the research vessels Maria S. Merian along the longitudinal gradient from Las Palmas (Spain) to St. Johns (Canada) (15° W to 52° W) and Polarstern along the latitudinal gradient from the Bay of Biscay to the South Atlantic Ocean (46° N to 26° S) in spring and fall 2007, respectively. After filtration the dissolved and particulate phases were extracted separately, and PFC concentrations were determined using high-performance liquid chromatography interfaced to tandem mass spectrometry. No PFCs were detected in the particulate phase. This study provides the first concentration data of perfluorooctanesulfonamide (FOSA), perfluorohexanoic acid, and perfluoroheptanoic acid from the Atlantic Ocean. Results indicate that trans-Atlantic Ocean currents caused the decreasing concentration gradient from the Bay of Biscay to the South Atlantic Ocean and the concentration drop-off close to the Labrador Sea. Maximum concentrations were found for FOSA, perfluorooctanesulfonate, and perfluorooctanoic acid at 302, 291, and 229 pg L−1, respectively. However, the concentration of each single compound was usually in the tens of picograms per liter range. South of the equator only FOSA and below 4° S no PFCs could be detected.
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