Occurrence of perfluorinated compounds in water, sediment and mussels from the Cantabrian Sea (North Spain)

Cristian Gómez, Joana Vicente, Beatriz Echavarri-Erasun, Cinta Porte, Silvia Lacorte

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) have emerged as significant global environmental pollutants with persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic properties. The aim of this study was to determine the occurrence of PFCs in water (wastewater, submarine emissaries and port-waters), sediment and transplanted mussels in estuarine areas of high urban and industrial impact from Northern Spain. Five PFCs of industrial use were studied: perfluorooctanesulfonate, perfluorohexanesulfonate, perfluorobutanesulfonate, perfluorooctanoate acid and perfluorononanoate acid. After selective extraction, samples were analyzed by Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry. ΣPFCs ranged from 0.06 to 10.9. ng/L in water, with higher levels in wastewater treatment plants effluents and port waters than in submarine emissaries. Little accumulation was observed in sediments and mussels with ΣPFCs ranging from 0.01-0.13. ng/g dw and 0.01-0.06. ng/g ww, respectively. Most ubiquitous compounds were PFOS and PFOA. Mass fluxes of PFCs to the Cantabrian Sea are estimated and the impact to the coastal ecosystem is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)948-955
Number of pages8
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • LC-MS
  • Mussels
  • Perfluorinated compounds
  • Sediment
  • Water


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