Bioaccumulation of fluorotelomer sulfonates and perfluoroalkyl acids in marine organisms living in aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) impacted waters

By H Aring Kon Austad Langberg, Gijs Breedveld, Hege Mentzoni Grønning, Marianne Kvennås, Bjorn M Jenssen, and Sarah E Hale
Environ. Sci. Technol.
August 5, 2019
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b00927

The use of aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) has resulted in hot spots polluted with poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). The phase out of long chained perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) from AFFF resulted in the necessity for alternatives, and short chained PFAA and fluorotelomer based surfactants have been used. Here, the distribution of PFAS contamination in the marine environment surrounding a military site in Norway was investigated. Up to 30 PFAS were analysed in storm, leachate and fjord water, marine sediments, marine invertebrates (snails, green shore crab, great spider crab, and edible crab) and teleost fish (Atlantic cod, European place, and Lemon sole). Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) was the most abundantly detected PFAS. Differences in PFAS accumulation levels were observed between species, likely reflecting different exposure routes between trophic levels and different capabilities for depuration and/or enzymatic degradation. In agreement with previous literature, almost no 6:2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (6:2 FTS) was detected in teleost fish. However, this study is one of the first to report considerable concentrations of 6:2 FTS in marine invertebrates, suggesting bioaccumulation. Biota monitoring and risk assessments of sites contaminated with fluorotelomer sulfonates (FTS) and related compounds, should not be limited to fish, but also include invertebrates.

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