National inventory of perfluoroalkyl substances in archived U.S. biosolids from the 2001 EPA National Sewage Sludge Survey

Arjun K. Venkatesan, Rolf Halden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Scopus citations


Using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, we determined the first nationwide inventories of 13 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in U.S. biosolids via analysis of samples collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the 2001 National Sewage Sludge Survey. Perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS; 403. ±. 127. ng/g dry weight (dw)] was the most abundant PFAS detected in biosolids composites representing 32 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, followed by perfluorooctanoate [PFOA; 34. ±. 22. ng/g. dw] and perfluorodecanoate [PFDA; 26. ±. 20. ng/g. dw]. Mean concentrations in U.S. biosolids of the remaining ten PFASs ranged between 2 and 21. ng/g. dw. Interestingly, concentrations of PFOS determined here in biosolids collected prior to the phase-out period (2002) were similar to levels reported in the literature for recent years. The mean load of ∑PFASs in U.S. biosolids was estimated at 2749-3450. kg/year, of which about 1375-2070. kg is applied on agricultural land and 467-587. kg goes to landfills as an alternative disposal route. This study informs the risk assessment of PFASs by furnishing national inventories of PFASs occurrence and environmental release via biosolids application on land.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - May 5 2013



  • Biosolids
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Land application
  • National Inventory
  • Perfluorochemicals
  • Risk assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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