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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Perfluorinated compounds in marine surface waters: data from the Baltic Sea and methodological challenges for future studies

Torben Kirchgeorg A B , Ingo Weinberg A , Annekatrin Dreyer A and Ralf Ebinghaus A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A GKSS Research Centre, Max-Planck-Strasse 1, D-21502 Geesthacht, Germany.

B Corresponding author. Email: torben.kirchgeorg@gkss.de

Environmental Chemistry 7(5) 429-434 https://doi.org/10.1071/EN10039
Submitted: 15 April 2010  Accepted: 24 August 2010   Published: 13 October 2010

Environmental context. Perfluorinated compounds are man-made chemicals of emerging environmental concern because of their global distribution in water, air and biota. We investigate the distribution of these chemicals in surface water of the Baltic Sea, a unique ecosystem and the world’s largest body of brackish water. The observed contamination was of the same order of magnitude as classical persistent organic pollutants in the world’s oceans, and decreased with lower population density in the Baltic Sea catchments.

Abstract. Poly- and perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are chemicals of emerging environmental concern. Except for very few coastal sites, PFC contamination of the Baltic Sea has not been investigated. In order to assess the PFC contamination of Baltic Sea water and evaluate the spatial distribution of PFCs, 74 surface water samples from the entire Baltic Sea were taken during two sampling campaigns in the summer of 2008 and analysed for PFCs. Of 40 analysed PFCs, 13 were detected at concentrations below 1 ng L–1, which indicates a rather low PFC contamination of Baltic Sea surface water. Usually, PFOA was the analyte observed in highest concentrations followed by PFNA, PFBS, and PFOS. PFC concentrations decreased from the Kattegat to the Bothnian Bay and the Gulf of Finland, reflecting the decreasing population density and thus the potential contamination in corresponding catchments or the decreasing influence of potentially contaminated North Sea water.


Acknowledgement

The authors thank the PIs, captains, and crews of the research vessels who made this dataset available. They also thank Gesine Witt for valuable help during the MSM08/3 sampling campaign.


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