Legacy and Novel Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Juvenile Seabirds from the US Atlantic Coast

By Anna Robuck, Mark G Cantwell, James P McCord, Lindsay M Addison, Marisa Pfohl, Mark J Strynar, Richard A McKinney, David R Katz, David N Wiley, and Rainer Lohmann
Environ Sci Technol .
September 15, 2020
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c01951

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are anthropogenic, globally distributed chemicals. Legacy PFAS, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have been regularly detected in marine fauna but little is known about their current levels or the presence of novel PFAS in seabirds. We measured 36 emerging and legacy PFAS in livers from 31 juvenile seabirds from Massachusetts Bay, Narragansett Bay, and the Cape Fear River Estuary (CFRE), USA. PFOS was the major legacy perfluoroalkyl acid present, making up 58% of concentrations observed across all habitats (range: 11 - 280 ng/g). Novel PFAS were confirmed in chicks hatched downstream of a fluoropolymer production site in the CFRE - a perfluorinated ether sulfonic acid (Nafion byproduct-2; range: 1 - 110 ng/g) and two perfluorinated ether carboxylic acids (PFO4DA and PFO5DoDA; PFO5DoDA range: 5 - 30 ng/g). PFOS was inversely associated with phospholipid content in livers from CFRE and Massachusetts Bay individuals, while ẟ13C, an indicator of marine vs. terrestrial foraging, was positively correlated with some long-chain PFAS in CFRE chick livers. These results detail concentrations of legacy and novel PFAS across different marine ecosystems along the US Atlantic East Coast. There is also an indication that seabird phospholipid dynamics are negatively impacted by PFAS, which should be further explored given the importance of lipids for seabirds.


View on PubMed