Main content area

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in the Western Mediterranean Sea waters

Brumovský, Miroslav, Karásková, Pavlína, Borghini, Mireno, Nizzetto, Luca
Chemosphere 2016 v.159 pp. 308-316
basins, coastal water, river water, rivers, surface water, Mediterranean Sea, Strait of Gibraltar
The spatial and temporal distribution of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the open Western Mediterranean Sea waters was investigated in this study for the first time. In addition to surface water samples, a deep water sample (1390 m depth) collected in the center of the western basin was analyzed. Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) were detected in all samples and were the dominant PFASs found. The sum of PFAS concentrations (ΣPFASs) ranged 246–515 pg/L for surface water samples. PFASs in surface water had a relatively homogeneous distribution with levels similar to those previously measured in the Atlantic near the Strait of Gibraltar, in water masses feeding the inflow to the Mediterranean Sea. Higher concentrations of PFHxA, PFHpA and PFHxS were, however, found in the present study. Inflowing Atlantic water and river/coastal discharges are likely the major sources of PFASs to the Western Mediterranean basin. Slightly lower (factor of 2) ΣPFASs was found in the deep water sample (141 pg/L). Such a relatively high contamination of deep water is likely to be linked to recurring deep water renewal fed by downwelling events in the Gulf of Lion and/or Ligurian Sea.