Target, Nontarget, and Suspect Screening and Temporal Trends of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Marine Mammals from the South China Sea

By Qi Wang, Yuefei Ruan, Linjie Jin, Xiaohua Zhang, Jing Li, Yuhe He, Si Wei, James C W Lam, and Paul K S Lam
Environ Sci Technol
January 13, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c06685

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have been manufactured and widely used for over 60 years. Currently, there are thousands of marketed PFASs, but only dozens of them are routinely monitored. This work involved target, nontarget, and suspect screening of PFASs in the liver of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin () and finless porpoise (), two resident marine mammals in the South China Sea, stranded between 2012 and 2018. Among the 21 target PFASs, perfluorooctane sulfonate and 6:2 chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate (6:2 Cl-PFESA) predominated in the samples, accounting for 46 and 30% of the total PFASs, respectively. Significantly higher total target PFAS concentrations ( < 0.05) were found in dolphin liver samples [3.23 × 10 ± 2.63 × 10 ng/g dry weight (dw)] than in porpoise liver samples (2.63 × 10 ± 1.10 × 10 ng/g dw). Significant increasing temporal trends ( < 0.05) were found in the concentrations of two emerging PFASs, perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulfonate and 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-propanoate in porpoises, indicating increasing pollution by these emerging PFASs. Forty-four PFASs from 9 classes were additionally identified by nontarget and suspect screening, among which 15 compounds were reported for the first time in marine mammals. A primary risk assessment showed that the emerging PFAS 6:2 Cl-PFESA could have possible adverse effects in terms of reproductive injury potential on most of the investigated cetaceans.

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