Superfund Research Program
Developing Passive Samplers for the Detection and Bioaccumulation of PFASs in Water and Porewater
Project Leader: Rainer Lohmann
Grant Number: P42ES027706
Funding Period: 2017-2022
Project researchers further assessed different sampling tools for the accumulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They validated the use of thin SPME fibers for the detection of dissolved PFAS by measuring the effects of temperature, salinity, and exposure duration. These fibers equilibrate within 24 hours, and the uptake of individual PFAS by the fibers is linear across the range of 5 to 500 ng/mL. These fibers can be used as a rapid screening tool for PFAS at contaminated sites, and possibly in biological tissue. In separate research, passive sampling tubes for PFAS were field tested in wastewater treatment effluents and in Narragansett Bay. Sampling rates varied from 10-50 mL/day in effluents to 3-5 mL/day in the estuary and depended on external flow velocity. Field testing of these passive sampling tubes as screening tools for PFAS is underway in three Connecticut rivers. The first indoor testing of polyethylene sheets implied equilibration times of 14 days for most neutral PFAS. In Californian kindergartens, fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) dominated indoor air. In a research collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, different bird chick tissues were screened for the presence of both legacy and emerging PFAS. Chicks hatched downstream of a fluoropolymer production site contained significant concentrations of a perfluorinated ether sulfonic acid (Nafion byproduct-2) and two perfluorinated ether carboxylic acids, which are used as replacement processing aids in fluoropolymer production. Bioaccumulation factors for these novel compounds were similar to PFOS, raising concerns about their long-range transport and adverse effects on biota.