Survey of the Prevalence of Perfluorooctane Sulphonate (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Related Compounds in Drinking Water and their Sources
February 2008


The general objectives of this project were (a) to review and assess any monitoring data currently undertaken regarding PFOS, PFOA and related compounds in drinking water and its sources in England and Wales, (b) to develop an accurate and scientifically sound analytical method for the analysis of these compounds, (c) to devise and perform a one-year monitoring study of these compounds at 20 sites across England and Wales, and (d) to identify future research needs.


Perfluorinated chemicals such as PFOS (perfluorooctane sulphonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) have been used in a number of different types of products, including performance chemicals such as: photographic film; surfactant in fire fighting foams; surfactant for alkaline cleaners; emulsifiers in floor polish; mist suppressant for metal plating baths; surfactant for etching acids for circuit boards; pesticides; active ingredient for ant bait traps; and dirt repellent treatments for textiles (e.g. carpets, home furnishing and leather) and paper (e.g. food containers and masking papers). PFOS has been shown to be toxic, persistent and bioaccumulative in the environment. Although already a focus for restriction within the European Union, its profile as a potential micropollutant in water was raised following the Buncefield Oil Depot fire in December 2005 when fire-fighting foam containing PFOS was used.  


Copies of this report may be available as an Acrobat pdf download under the 'Find Completed Research' heading on the DWI website.