Specific accumulation of perfluorochemicals in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) from the northwest Atlantic

Marine Environmental Research Institute, Center for Marine Studies, P.O. Box 1652, Blue Hill, ME 04614, USA.
Chemosphere (Impact Factor: 3.5). 12/2008; 74(8):1037-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.10.063
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Concentrations of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) including perfluoroalkylsulfonates (PFSAs), and perfluoroalkylcarboxylates (PFCAs) were determined in liver of harbor seals (n=68) collected from the northwest Atlantic between 2000 and 2007. Of ten PFCs measured, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) concentrations were the highest in liver (8-1388 ng/g, ww), followed by perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) (<1-30.7 ng/g, ww). An unusual accumulation profile of long-chain (C7-C12) PFCAs, and the predominance of PFUnDA, followed by PFNA in seal liver suggested that fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) may be a major source of PFCAs in the northwest Atlantic. No gender-related differences in the concentrations of individual PFCs or total PFCs were found. Concentrations of PFOS and PFDS were higher in tissues of the pups than the adults, whereas concentrations of the PFCAs were similar between pups and adults. PFOS concentrations in the pups were 2.6-fold higher than those in the adult females, suggesting the importance of maternal transfer of PFCs. Hepatic PFOS concentrations were strongly, positively correlated with PFOSA, PFDS and individual PFCAs, indicating that harbor seals are exposed simultaneously to these compounds. Temporal comparisons of hepatic PFC concentrations showed a marginal increase of PFOS and PFCAs in the adult seals from 2000 to 2007. Unlike the spatial trend observed for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), no south to north (urban-rural-remote) decreasing trend was observed for PFCs, suggesting the presence of diffuse sources of PFC contamination throughout the northwest Atlantic.

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