Distribution of perfluoroalkyl compounds in seawater from Northern Europe, Atlantic Ocean, and Southern Ocean


The global distribution of perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) were investigated in surface water samples collected onboard the Polarstern in Northern Europe, Atlantic and Southern Ocean (52°N–69°S) in 2008. The water samples were solid-phase extracted with Oasis WAX cartridges and analysed using the high-performance liquid chromatography interfaced to tandem mass spectrometry. Concentrations of various PFCs, including C4, C6, C8 perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs), perfluorooctane sulfinate (PFOSi), C5–C12 perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCA) and perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA) were quantified. Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were the predominant compounds with a maximum concentration of 232 and 223 pg L−1, respectively. Results indicate that industrial areas like the European Continent act as source of PFCs, while ocean water is an important as a sink as well as the transport medium of these compounds. Interestingly, in the equator area the ∑PFC concentration increased, which indicates that there exists an atmospheric or other unknown input source of PFCs. In the Southern Ocean only PFOS was detected which could be caused by atmospheric transport of its precursors.
QR Code: Link to publication