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Screening of endocrine disrupting compounds in Swedish rivers: with focus on organic flame retardants and perfluoroalkylated substances
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences. Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet SLU.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The occurrence of chemical contaminants in the environment is one of the key issues the world isfacing today. Special effort has been put on the screening of endocrine disrupting compounds(EDCs), substances that have been shown to have adverse effects on the endocrine system. EDCs are mainly found in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), but also other products covering almost all categories of our daily life. EDCs can be both organic, such as the persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and inorganic, e.g. heavy metals. Today, all kinds of EDCs are currently being investigated on a large scale.

Two EDC sub-categories that have gained increased public attention during the last years are organic flame retardants (FRs) and per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances (PFASs). Both categories have shown to be bioaccumulating, persistent and toxic, which has led to banning of several substances in both categories. However, as both FRs and PFASs are considered to be emerging POPs, their fate and behaviour in the environment are still in great need of research. FRs and PFASs often end up in surface waters due to their disinclination of getting removed in waste water treatment plants (WWTPs) and their persistence. Thus, the objective of this project was to provide a snapshot of the current situation of FRs and PFASs in Swedish rivers, including both smaller streams and bigger rivers. Grab water samples were taken at 25 sites for FRs and 44 for PFASs in rivers all over Sweden.

The results showed that sparsely populated areas such as the northern part of Sweden generally showed lower concentrations of PFASs in the water than the southern part did. The summarised concentrations of FRs ranged from 37 ng L-1 to 4.6 μg L-1, and from 0.59 ng L-1 to 59 ng L-1 for the detected PFASs, which was in good comparison to previous studies carried out on surface water in Europe. The percentile composition, the so-called fingerprint, showed significant differences between the southern part and the northern part for both FRs and PFASs, but also great similarities between some of the rivers with the highest measured PFASs concentrations. The highest loads of both FRs and PFASs were detected in Delångersån, which is one of the smaller rivers screened and likely to be affected by a nearby industrial point source. The European environmental quality standard of 0.65 ng L-1 of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) was exceeded in 12 of all 44 sampled rivers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 74 p.
UPTEC W, ISSN 1401-5765 ; 14010
Keyword [en]
EDC, flame retardants, PFAS, PFAA, PFCA, PFSA, screening, rivers, surface water, grab samples, Sweden
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-222321OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-222321DiVA: diva2:711574
Educational program
Master Programme in Environmental and Water Engineering
2014-03-18, Skåne, Geocentrum, Villavägen 9, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-04-14 Created: 2014-04-10 Last updated: 2014-04-14Bibliographically approved

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