The role of PFAS in unsettling ocean carbon sequestration

By Ali Mahmoudnia
Environ Monit Assess
January 18, 2023
DOI: 10.1007/s10661-023-10912-8

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and global climate change have attracted worldwide attention. PFAS have been found all across the planet, from the polar regions to the global ocean. Global oceans have emerged as a substantial sink for the carbon in the environment due to their remarkable capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon. Oceans absorb around 24% of the world's CO emissions. Thus, the ocean plays a prominent role in the earth's carbon cycle. However, the widespread application of PFAS in a wide range of products and the inefficient management of PFAS-containing wastes made them ubiquitous pollutants, which are increasingly getting as a pollutant of emerging concern. Marine PFAS pollutants can produce harmful effects on gas exchange and the ocean's carbon cycle. Thus, it leads to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which eventually adversely affects global warming and climate change. Consequently, threats of marine PFAS to oceans carbon sequestration are discussed in this paper. Marine PFAS pollutants adversely affect the following sectors: (1) The growth and photosynthesis of phytoplankton, (2) development and reproduction of zooplankton by causing toxicity in zooplankton, (3) marine biological pomp, and (4) carbon stock of oceans. In this way, marine PFAS can pose a threat to ocean carbon sequestration. It is expected that this study can develop knowledge about the potential impact of PFAS on ocean carbon sequestration. However, the need for further research to investigate the hidden dimensions of this issue, including the potential scope and scale of this impact, should not be overlooked.

View on PubMed