Model-based investigation of the formation, transmission, and health risk of perfluorooctanoic acid, a member of PFASs group, in drinking water distribution systems

Gopinathan R. Abhijith, Avi Ostfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Recent studies identified fluoroalkyl amides (FAs) transformation to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) during disinfection as an indirect source of PFASs contamination of drinking water. This paper discerns the position of water disinfection systems (WDSs) as a PFOA exposure pathway. A new mechanistic model incorporating the derived knowledge about the zwitterionic/cationic FAs transformation to PFOA with the unsteady-state hydraulic characteristics of WDSs was developed. The simulation outputs from model application to a WDS from the USA established the significant role of delivery via distribution network in the PFOA formation in drinking water. PFOA exposure risk assessment studies predicted >95% of the system nodes to be at high risk when the existing stringent health-based guideline values are adopted. The 1 to 3 years and 4 to 8 years old age groups were found susceptible to PFOA exposure through drinking water beyond the tolerable limit of 3 ng/kg/day. The model predicted that reducing the chlorine dose from 2±0.2 to 1±0.1 mg/L at the treatment units drops the share of 1 to 3 years old and 4 to 8 years old consumers falling to PFOA exposure from 4.32 to 0.45% and 0.32 to <0.01%, respectively. Besides, 24.9% more, including ∼x223C10% of the consumers of 1 to 3 years old age group, were found exposed to PFOA risks when the organic loading of water was reduced by 60%.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117626
JournalWater Research
Volume204
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Drinking water
  • Fluoroalkyl amides
  • Health risk
  • PFOA
  • Risk quotient
  • Water quality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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