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  • www.crccare.com

    Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

    Assessment, management and remediation for PFOS and PFOAPart 3: ecological screening levels

    TechnicAl RePORT nO. 38

  • Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Technical Report series, no. 38 January 2017 Copyright CRC CARE Pty Ltd, 2017 This book is copyright. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Commonwealth) and subsequent amendments, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without the specific written permission of the copyright owner. ISBN: 978-1-921431-55-5

    Enquiries and additional copies: CRC CARE, C/- Newcastle University LPO, PO Box 18, Callaghan NSW, Australia 2308 Tel: +61 (0) 2 4985 4941 Fax: +61 (0) 8 8302 3124 admin@crccare.com www.crccare.com

    This report should be cited as: CRC CARE 2017, Assessment, management and remediation guidance for perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) Part 3: ecological screening levels, CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38, CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment, Newcastle, Australia.

    Disclaimer: This publication is provided for the purpose of disseminating information relating to scientific and technical matters. Participating organisations of CRC CARE do not accept liability for any loss and/or damage, including financial loss, resulting from the reliance upon any information, advice or recommendations contained in this publication. The contents of this publication should not necessarily be taken to represent the views of the participating organisations.

  • CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

    Technical Report no. 38c

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance

    for perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and

    perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

    Part 3 ecological screening levels

    March 2017

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c i

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    Important note to readers

    This guidance is to be regarded as both draft and interim, particularly in relation to

    health based screening values.

    The following caveats and limitations apply to this guidance:

    the health based values in this guidance are based on the interim TDI values

    endorsed by enHealth in 2016 for PFOS (+PFHxS) and PFOA,

    and should revised TDI values be endorsed by enHealth or another major national

    health based agency in Australia, then the health derived values in this guidance

    will be updated accordingly, and the guidance re-issued.

    It is recognised that there is much on-going research on the impacts of PFOS and

    PFOA on human health and the environment, the outcomes of which may improve the

    assessment, remediation and management of PFOS and PFOA. These developments

    will be monitored and this guidance will be updated, as appropriate.

    It is also recognised that PFAS compounds other than PFOS and PFOA may

    contribute to the impacts of PFAS on human health and the environment. When further

    research results for other PFAS compounds (or classes thereof) of sufficient

    robustness to be utilised in the formulation of guidance for those compounds (or

    classes thereof) become available, then that information will be used to extend the

    scope of this guidance.

    This guidance should therefore be regarded as both draft and interim.

    March 2017

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c ii

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    Preamble

    CRC CARE has milestones in its Agreement with the Commonwealth Government

    relating to the development of guidance for contaminants of emerging concern in

    collaboration with end users. Priority contaminants were identified for CRC CARE

    through regulators and end users who met at a Forum held in February 2012. These

    contaminants included perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid

    (PFOA), which belong to a large group of compounds called per- and polyfluoroalkyl

    substances (PFAS). CRC CARE has undertaken the development of human health

    screening levels (HSLs) and ecological screening levels (ESLs) for PFOS and PFOA;

    these values provide a collective view of the available science and application of

    Australian approaches on the development of human health and ecological based

    criteria.

    The derivation of the HSLs and ESLs has followed the methodologies outlined in the

    National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999,

    as revised in 2013 (NEPM). HSLs and ESLs are subject to the assumptions,

    uncertainties and limitations outlined in the relevant parts of the guidance deviations

    from the assumptions used in their derivation may mean that a site specific

    assessment would be required. Further, HSLs for some exposures are calculated using

    a 100% relative source contribution. If more than one of these sources is relevant, use

    of the screening values would underestimate risks, and in this case, cumulative

    assessment of all relevant exposures must be made.

    The NEPM emphasises the importance of formulating a conceptual site model on

    which to base the assessment of soil and groundwater contamination, and guidance

    has been provided on the development of a conceptual site model for PFOS

    and PFOA.

    It is intended that the HSLs and ESLs that have been developed for PFOS and PFOA

    should be considered similarly to the NEPM HILs/HSLs and EILs/ESLs in forming

    generic screening levels which, if exceeded, would indicate that further more detailed

    investigation is required. The HSLs and ESLs and the information used in their

    derivation can assist in undertaking this more detailed investigation.

    It is emphasised that exceedance of the HSLs and ESLs does not necessarily imply

    that the contamination poses an unacceptable risk, and the HSLs and ESLs should not

    be used as remediation targets, as this could result in unnecessary remediation.

    The following limitations should be noted:

    The assessment and management of PFAS contamination in soil and groundwater

    is an emerging science in Australia and internationally and significant work

    continues to be undertaken. It is recommended that when using this guideline,

    more recent information is considered.

    Uncertainties and limitations in the guidance values and their application are noted

    in the guidance document, and these should be considered when using the values.

    Some of the screening levels have assumed the occurrence of bioaccumulation

    and biomagnification based on international work - there is uncertainty as to the

    levels that will occur in Australian organisms. Where significant exceedances of

    HSLs and ESLs occur, consideration should be given to direct monitoring of

    potentially affected organisms to determine if there are effects that can be

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c iii

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    distinguished. Further assessment would be would be required where

    bioaccumulation is an issue.

    This review has focussed on PFOS and PFOA. PFAS include a large number of

    compounds and analytical methods are reporting an increasing number of PFAS

    compounds. As this guidance document was being finalised, enHealth (2016)

    advised that in the assessment of effects on human health, perfluorohexane

    sulfonate (PFHxS) should be considered to be additive to PFOS. The use of the

    HSLs and ESLs for PFOS and PFOA should recognise that other PFAS may

    contribute to potential effects and where present, these will need to be evaluated

    for potential cumulative risks in accordance with available information.

    Because of the evolving nature of the science relating to PFAS, these guidelines are

    considered to be Interim Guidance, and it is recommended that a review of this

    guidance is considered following any change in recommendations relating to guideline

    levels for PFAS by enHealth or FSANZ.

    This guidance is intended for a variety of users within the contaminated sites industry,

    including site owners, proponents of works, contaminated land professionals, and

    regulators. It is assumed that readers are familiar with the NEPM 2013. While the aim

    of this guideline is to provide a resource that can be used at PFAS-contaminated sites

    across Australia, it does not replace specific laws, regulations and guidance provided

    at a local level.

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c iv

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    Abbreviations

    AFFFs Aqueous film forming foams

    BAF Bioaccumulation factor

    BCF Bioconcentration factor

    BMF Biomagnification factor

    CRC CARE Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination

    Assessment and Remediation of the Environment

    ESL Ecological screening levels

    HIL Health investigation level

    HSL Health screening levels

    NEPM National Environment Protection (Assessment of Site

    Contamination) Measure 1999, as revised in 2013

    NOEC No observable effect concentration

    PFAS Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances

    PFHxS Perfluorohexane sulfonate

    PFOA Perfluorooctanoic acid

    PFOS Perfluorooctane sulfonate

    PNEC Predicted no effect concentration

    SSD Species sensitivity distribution

    TOC Total organic carbon

    WWTP Wastewater treatment plant

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c v

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    Table of contents

    1. Introduction 1

    1.1 Project background and objectives 1

    1.2 Purpose of this document 1

    2. PFOS and PFOA in the Environment 3

    2.1 Overview 3

    2.2 PFOS and PFOA in Australian waterways 3

    2.3 PFOS and PFOA in Australian wildlife 4

    2.4 PFOS and PFOA in wastewater treatment plants 4

    2.4.1 Fate of PFAS in wastewater treatment 4

    2.4.2 Accumulation in sewage sludge 5

    2.5 Fate and transport in the environment 6

    2.6 Partitioning of PFOS and PFOA between soil, sediment and water 7

    2.7 Mechanisms for sorption and desorption 8

    2.7.1 Sorption 8

    2.7.2 Desorption 9

    3. Toxicity of PFOS and PFOA 11

    3.1 Toxicity in the aquatic environment 11

    3.1.1 Freshwater ecosystems 11

    3.1.2 Marine ecosystems 11

    3.2 Toxicity in the terrestrial environment 13

    4. Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of PFOS and PFOA 15

    4.1 Bioaccumulation and biomagnification 15

    4.1.1 Bioaccumulation in edible aquatic species 16

    4.1.2 Bioaccumulation in plants 16

    4.2 Relationship between PFAS concentrations in water/sediment and aquatic

    organisms 17

    4.2.1 Accumulation of PFOS 19

    4.2.2 Accumulation of PFOA 20

    4.2.3 Derivation of Human Health Screening Levels for water protective

    of consumption of seafood 20

    5. Ecological screening levels for PFAS 23

    5.1 Protection of aquatic ecosystems 23

    5.1.1 Introduction 23

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c vi

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    5.1.2 Toxicity of PFOS and PFOA 23

    5.2 Freshwater ecosystem screening levels 24

    5.2.1 Uncertainty 24

    5.3 Marine ecosystems screening levels 25

    5.3.1 Introduction 25

    5.3.2 Species Sensitivity Distribution 25

    5.3.3 Ground-truthing screening levels 30

    5.3.4 Uncertainty 30

    5.4 Sediment ecosystems 30

    5.5 Terrestrial ecosystems 32

    5.5.1 Derivation of Australian ecological screening levels for PFOS and

    PFOA 32

    5.5.2 Effects of ageing and soil properties on bioavailability 36

    5.6 Application of ecological screening levels 37

    5.6.1 Application of ageing and soil properties to PFOS and PFOA

    ecological screening levels 37

    5.6.2 Sampling 38

    5.6.3 Analysis 38

    5.6.4 Extraction method 39

    5.6.5 Conclusions and recommendations 39

    6. Conclusions 40

    7. References 41

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c vii

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    Tables

    Table 1. Summary of PFOS and PFOA concentrations in International

    and Australian coastal waters

    3

    Table 2. Log Koc results for sludge and sediments 6

    Table 3. Partitioning (percent) of PFOS in the environment 7

    Table 4. Maximum concentrations detected in seafood in Bohai Bay,

    China and Sydney Harbour

    16

    Table 5. Field PFOS concentration data 19

    Table 6. Field PFOA concentration data 20

    Table 7. Default guidelines for PFOS and PFOA 24

    Table 8. Conversion factors 26

    Table 9. PFOS toxicity data 27

    Table 10. PFOA toxicity data 28

    Table 11. Classification of the reliability of the guideline values calculated

    using PFOS and PFOA data

    28

    Table 12. Marine guideline values for fresh PFOS and PFOA 30

    Table 13. Data for PFOS toxicity in soils 33

    Table 14. PFOA toxicity data 33

    Table 15. Soil chemistry used in bioassays 34

    Table 16. Classification of the reliability of the ecological guideline values

    calculated using PFOS and PFOA data

    34

    Table 17. Moderate reliability ESL values for fresh PFOS and PFOA in

    soils

    36

    Table 18. Screening levels for fresh PFOS and PFOA in aquatic systems 40

    Table 19. ESL values for fresh PFOS and PFOA in soils 40

    Figures

    Figure 1. SSD for PFOS in marine waters 29

    Figure 2. SSD for PFOA in marine waters 29

    Figure 3. SSD of PFOS soil toxicity data 35

    Figure 4. SSD of PFOA soil toxicity data 35

  • CRC CARE Technical Report no. 38c 1

    Assessment, management and remediation guidance for PFOS and PFOA. Part 3 ecological screening levels

    1. Introduction

    1.1 Project background and objectives

    Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) have been

    identified as contaminants of emerging concern in Australia. These contaminants

    belong to the broad group of chemicals referred to as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl

    substances (PFAS).

    PFAS are highly persistent and potentially toxic to humans and the environment, and

    some are bioaccumulative (CONCAWE 2016). Due to historical production, PFOS and

    PFOA are the most widely studied of the PFAS in terms of breakdown of precursor

    compounds. PFAS have been detected at concentrations of potential concern at a

    number of sites, particularly where there has been use of firefighting foams

    (Seow 2013). Awareness of the presence of PFOS and PFOA is growing rapidly.

    Media discussion of PFOS contamination has raised concern regarding the risk that the

    contamination poses to the health of exposed persons and the environment.

    In general, there is limited and incomplete information surrounding the occurrence, fate

    and toxicity of PFAS in the Australian environment. Australian criteria for protecting

    human health and ecological systems are needed to assess the level of risk that the

    contamination poses.

    This guidance provides a practicable approach to the risk-based assessment,

    management and remediation of PFAS contamination. It comprises five stand-a...

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