Temporal variations of perfluoroalkyl substances and polybrominated diphenyl ethers in alpine snow

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Torben Kirchgeorg
  • Annekatrin Dreyer
  • Jacopo Gabrieli
  • Natalie Kehrwald
  • Michael Sigl
  • Margit Schwikowski
  • Claude Boutron
  • Andrea Gambaro
  • Carlo Barbante
  • Ralf Ebinghaus

The occurrence and temporal variation of 18 perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and 8 polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in the European Alps was investigated in a 10 m shallow firn core from Colle Gnifetti in the Monte Rosa Massif (4455 m above sea level). The firn core encompasses the years 1997-2007. Firn core sections were analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (PFASs) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (PBDEs). We detected 12 PFASs and 8 PBDEs in the firn samples. Perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA; 0.3-1.8 ng L -1) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA; 0.2-0.6 ng L -1) were the major PFASs while BDE 99 (<MQL-4.5 ng L -1) and BDE 47 (n.d.-2.6 ng L -1) were the major PBDEs. This study demonstrates the occurrence of PFASs and PBDEs in the European Alps and provides the first evidence that PFASs compositions may be changing to PFBA-dominated compositions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Pages (from-to)367-374
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2013