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Perfluorooctanesulfonate and Related Fluorochemicals in Albatrosses, Elephant Seals, Penguins, and Polar Skuas from the Southern Ocean

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journal contribution
posted on 15.12.2006, 00:00 by Lin Tao, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Natsuko Kajiwara, Mônica M. Costa, Gilberto Fillmann, Shin Takahashi, Shinsuke Tanabe
Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have been used as surfactants in industrial and commercial products for over 50 years. Earlier studies of the geographical distribution of PFCs focused primarily on the Northern Hemisphere, while little attention was paid to the Southern Hemisphere. In this study, livers from eight species of albatrosses, blood from elephant seal, and blood and eggs from penguins and polar skua collected from the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic during 1995−2005 were analyzed for 10 PFCs. In addition, for comparison with the Southern Ocean samples, we analyzed liver, sera, and eggs from two species of albatrosses from Midway Atoll in the North Pacific Ocean. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were found in livers of albatrosses from the Southern Ocean. PFOS was the major contaminant, although the concentrations were <5 ng/g, wet wt, in 92% of the albatross livers analyzed. PFOA was detected in 30% of the albatross livers, with a concentration range of <0.6−2.45 ng/g, wet wt. Other PFCs, including long-chain perfluorocarboxylates (PFCAs), were below the limits of quantitation in livers of albatrosses from the Southern Ocean. In liver, sera, and eggs of albatrosses from the North Pacific Ocean, long-chain PFCAs (perfluorononanoate, perfluorodecanoate, perfluoroundecanoate, and perfluorododecanoate) were found at concentrations similar to those of PFOS and PFOA. The mean concentration of PFOS in livers of Laysan albatrosses from the North Pacific Ocean (5.1 ng/g, wet wt) was higher than that in several species of albatrosses from the Southern Ocean (2.2 ng/g, wet wt). Species-specific differences in the concentrations of PFOS were noted among Southern Ocean albatrosses, whereas geographical differences in PFOS concentrations among the Indian Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and South Atlantic Ocean were insignificant. Concentrations of PFOS and PFOA were, respectively, 2- and 17-fold higher in liver than in sera of Laysan albatrosses. PFOS was found in the blood of elephant seals from Antarctica at concentrations ranging from <0.08 to 3.52 ng/mL. PFOS was found in eggs (2.1−3.1 ng/g) and blood (<0.24−1.4 ng/mL) of polar skuas but was not detected in penguins from Antarctica. Our study documents the existence of low but detectable levels of PFOS and PFOA in Southern Hemisphere fauna, suggesting distribution of these compounds on a global scale.