Treatment of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances in U.S. full-scale water treatment systems

Water Research
Timothy D ApplemanEric R V Dickenson

Abstract

The near ubiquitous presence of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in humans has raised concerns about potential human health effects from these chemicals, some of which are both extremely persistent and bioaccumulative. Because some of these chemicals are highly water soluble, one major pathway for human exposure is the consumption of contaminated drinking water. This study measured concentrations of PFASs in 18 raw drinking water sources and 2 treated wastewater effluents and evaluated 15 full-scale treatment systems for the attenuation of PFASs in water treatment utilities throughout the U.S. A liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry method was used to enable measurement of a suite of 23 PFASs, including perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) and perfluorosulfonic acids (PFSAs). Despite the differences in reporting levels, the PFASs that were detected in >70% of the source water samples (n = 39) included PFSAs, perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (74%), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (79%), and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (84%), and PFCAs, perfluoropentanoic acid (74%), perfluorohexanoic acid (79%), perfluoroheptanoic acid (74%), and perfluorooctanoic acid (74%). More importantly, water treatment techniques such as fer...Continue Reading

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