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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2012 Feb;215(2):212-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2011.08.016. Epub 2011 Oct 15.

Perfluorinated compounds in the vicinity of a fire training area--human biomonitoring among 10 persons drinking water from contaminated private wells in Cologne, Germany.

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Public Health Department of City of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.


In Cologne, Germany, increased concentrations of perfluorinated compounds (PFC) have been observed in two private wells used for drinking water purposes. Both wells are located in the vicinity of a fire training area. Use of well water as a source of drinking water was prohibited by the Public Health Department of the City of Cologne. A human biomonitoring (HBM) survey was performed among all persons, who consumed water from these private wells (N=10). PFC concentrations in water of the private wells and in blood samples were analysed by tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization (LC-ESI-MS/MS). Repeated water analyses (seven measurements between December 2009 and November 2010) indicated a decrease of PFOS from 8.35 to 1.60 μg/l, (PFHxS: 2.36-0.15 μg/l; PFOA: 0.16-0.03 μg/l) in one private well. Although situated close together, PFC-concentrations in the other private well were significantly lower. PFOS-concentrations in blood samples of private well water consumers ranged from 4.8 to 295 μg/l (PFHxS: 12.1-205 μg/l; PFOA: 4.0-18 μg/l). Although no data on the formulation of the firefighting foams applied on the fire training area is available, firefighting foams are supposed to be the most likely source of contamination. These findings give reason to track systematically the application of PFC-containing firefighting foams in order to identify contaminations of surface, ground and drinking waters.

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