Title: Estimating the aquatic emissions and fate of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) into the river Rhine
Citation: JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING vol. 14 no. 2 p. 524-530
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC66786
ISSN: 1464-0325
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC66786
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10432B
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The sources, distribution, levels and sinks of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) estimated to be released from areas of high population density, have been explored using the river Rhine as a case study. A comparison between modelled and measured data is presented, along with analysis of the importance of PFOS sorption in riverine systems. PFOS releases into the Rhine were estimated to be 325-690 kg/yr based on per capita emission rates of 27-57 μg/day from a population of 33 million living within a 50 km zone either side of the river. Sorption of PFOS to suspended particles and sediments may alter its fate in the aquatic environment. Therefore available measured and modelled partitioning data was assessed, and Kd values of 7.5 and 20 were selected. This gave sediment-water ratios of 23-76:1, which are similar to ratios reported in the literature, and resulted in modelled estimates that <20% of the total PFOS entering the Rhine binds to sediments or suspended particles. The calculated discharge from the Rhine to the North Sea based on measured data was 420–2200 kg/yr; our model predictions are in good agreement with these estimates. Emission trends were accurately predicted, suggesting population density can be effectively used as a surrogate for diffuse PFOS emissions from product use, while predicted concentrations were a factor of 2-3 below measured data. Transfer of PFOS to sediment is estimated to be minimal, and consequently discharges to the North Sea are roughly equal to PFOS releases to river water.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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