Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in United States tapwater: Comparison of underserved private-well and public-supply exposures and associated health implications
Drinking-water quality is a rising concern in the United States (US), emphasizing the need to broadly assess exposures and potential health effects at the point-of-use. Drinking-water exposures to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a national concern, however, there is limited information on PFAS in residential tapwater at the point-of-use, especially from private-wells. We conducted a national reconnaissance to compare human PFAS exposures in unregulated private-well and regulated public-supply tapwater. Tapwater from 716 locations (269 private-wells; 447 public supply) across the US was collected during 2016–2021 including three locations where temporal sampling was conducted. Concentrations of PFAS were assessed by three laboratories and compared with land-use and potential-source metrics to explore drivers of contamination. The number of individual PFAS observed ranged from 1 to 9 (median: 2) with corresponding cumulative concentrations (sum of detected PFAS) ranging from 0.348 to 346 ng/L. Seventeen PFAS were observed at least once with PFBS, PFHxS and PFOA observed most frequently in approximately 15% of the samples. Across the US, PFAS profiles and estimated median cumulative concentrations were similar among private wells and public-supply tapwater. We estimate that at least one PFAS could be detected in about 45% of US drinking-water samples. These detection probabilities varied spatially with limited temporal variation in concentrations/numbers of PFAS detected. Benchmark screening approaches indicated potential human exposure risk was dominated by PFOA and PFOS, when detected. Potential source and land-use information was related to cumulative PFAS concentrations, and the number of PFAS detected; however, corresponding relations with specific PFAS were limited likely due to low detection frequencies and higher detection limits. Information generated supports the need for further assessments of cumulative health risks of PFAS as a class and in combination with other co-occurring contaminants, particularly in unmonitored private-wells where information is limited or not available.
|Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in United States tapwater: Comparison of underserved private-well and public-supply exposures and associated health implications
|Kelly L. Smalling, Kristin M. Romanok, Paul M. Bradley, Matthew C. Morriss, James L. Gray, Leslie K. Kanagy, Stephanie Gordon, Brianna Williams, Sara E. Breitmeyer, Daniel Jones, Laura A. DeCicco, Collin Eagles-Smith, Tyler Wagner
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Coop Res Unit Leetown; Eastern Geographic Science Center; Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center; New Jersey Water Science Center; Utah Water Science Center; Wisconsin Water Science Center; National Research Program - Central Branch; Branch of Analytical Serv (NWQL); South Atlantic Water Science Center