Quantification and characterization of PFASs in suspended particulate matter (SPM) of German rivers using EOF, dTOPA, (non-)target HRMS

2023, Fachzeitschriften

Simon, F.; Gehrenkemper, L.; Becher, S.; Dierkes, G.; Langhammer, N.; Cossmer, A.; von der Au, M.; Göckener, B.; Fliedner, A.; Rüdel, H.; Koschorreck, J.; Meermann, B.
Sci Total Environ (2023); online: 10. August 2023


In this study, we compare analytical methods for PFAS determination-target analysis, non-target screening (NTS), direct total oxidizable precursor assay (dTOPA) and extractable organically bound fluorine (EOF).

Therefore, suspended particulate matter (SPM) samples from German rivers at different locations in time series from 2005 to 2020 were analyzed to investigate temporal and spatially resolved trends. In this study 3 PFAS mass balances approaches were utilized: (i) PFAA target vs. PFAS dTOPA, (ii) PFAS target vs. EOF and (iii) PFAS target vs. PFAS dTOPA vs. organofluorines NTS vs. EOF.

Mass balance approach (i) revealed high proportions of precursor substances in SPM samples. For the time resolved analysis an increase from 94% (2005) to 97% in 2019 was observable. Also for the spatial resolved analysis precursor proportions were high with >84% at all sampling sites. Mass balance approach (ii) showed that the unidentified EOF (uEOF) fraction increased over time from 82% (2005) to 99% (2019). Furthermore, along the river courses the uEOF increased. In the combined mass balance approach (iii) using 4 different analytical approaches EOF fractions were further unraveled. The EOF pattern was fully explainable at the sampling sites at Saar and Elbe rivers. For the time resolved analysis, an increased proportion of the EOF was now explainable. However, still 27% of the EOF for the time resolved analysis and 25% of the EOF for the spatial resolved analysis remained unknown. Therefore, in a complementary approach, both the EOF and dTOPA reveal unknown gaps in the PFAS mass balance and are valuable contributions to PFAS risk assessment.

Further research is needed to identify organofluorines summarized in the EOF parameter.

doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.163753

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