Environmental - Adverse Effects
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PFOS - PFOA Index Page

• Due to length, we are presenting this effect as a separate section for PFOS and PFOA. The study of the adverse effects of PFOS-PFOA chemicals is in its infancy and we anticipate that more effects will be presented and published over the next several years. Most of the animal studies (as of early 2004) have been performed by the major producers of PFOS-PFOA (3M and DuPont).

• Click here to return to the same section for fluorine & organofluorine pesticides.

This is not an exhaustive list. The review of data was performed in 2003 to early 2004. When time allows more information will be added.

• Among the abstracts, accessible in the links below, are several pertaining to concentrations found in wildlife and fish.

Abstracts on PFOS and PFOA for the following years:

After five decades of widespread use in consumer products and industrial goods and processes, PFOA has dispersed around the globe, and now contaminates wildlife on three of four continents tested. Other PFCs are even more prevalent...

Through studies conducted in the late 1980s, 3M learned that terminal breakdown products of many PFCs - PFOA and PFOS, for example - will not break down in the environment. These laboratory studies covered all the basic mechanisms by which chemicals are known to break down - in sunlight or through reactive chemicals in the air (photolysis), by bacterial action (biodegradation), and through chemical reaction with water (hydrolysis). 3M found that terminal PFCs are completely resistant to all of these processes.[16-20] ...

PFOS has been detected in the most protected species and in the most pristine environments on earth. It has been detected in Alaskan polar bears (in 17 of 17 tested polar bears, at an average liver concentration of 350 ppb)[10], Midwestern bald eagle nestlings younger than 70 days old (in 33 nestlings all under 70 days old, with an average blood plasma concentration of 330 ppb)[5], a great egret from Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Sumner, Missouri (liver concentration of 171 ppb)[5], bottlenose dolphins from the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Riccione, Italy (detected in 4 of 4 bottlenose dolphins, with an average blood concentration of 143 ppb)[7], and Laysan albatrosses from Sand Island, a wild life refuge in Midway Atoll (detected in 6 of 6 albatrosses, average blood concentration of 16 ppb)[5].

PFOSA, a chemical precursor of PFOS, is detected at significant levels in species across the globe. Off of the Italian coast, PFOSA (also known as FOSA) has been detected in a Delphinus Whale (liver concentration was 878 ppb)[7] , and in Swordfish (detected in 7 of 7 swordfish, average blood concentration was 7 ppb)[7]...
Ref: Environmental Working Group:
PFCs In Animals Worldwide

-- PFOS is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to mammalian species... PFOS is persistent in the environment and has been shown to bioconcentrate in fish. It has been detected in a number of species of wildlife, including marine mammals. Its persistence, presence in the environment and bioaccumulation potential indicate cause for concern. It appears to be of low to moderate toxicity to aquatic organisms but there is evidence of high acute toxicity to honey bees. No information is available on effects on soil- and sediment-dwelling organisms and the equilibrium partitioning method may not be suitable for predicting PNECs for these compartments. PFOS has been detected in sediment downstream of a production site and in effluents and sludge from sewage treatment plants.
Ref: November 21, 2002 report: Hazard Assessment of Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and its salts. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. ENV/JM/RD(2002)17/FINAL.

/BIRDS and MAMMALS/ Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS; C8F17SO3-), perfluorooctanesulfonamide (FOSA; C8F17SO2NH2), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS; C6F13SO3-), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA; C7F15CO2-) were detected in 175 samples of liver and blood of bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus), swordfish (Xiphias gladius), common cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), striped dolphins (Stenella coeruleoalba), common dolphins (Delphinus delphi), fin whales (Balenoptera physalus), and long-finned pilot whales (Globicephala melas) from the Italian coast of the Mediterranean Sea and in livers of ringed seals (Phoca hispida), gray seals (Halichoerus grypus), white-tailed sea eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla), and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from coastal areas of the Baltic Sea. PFOS was detected in all of the wildlife species analyzed. Concentrations of PFOS in blood decreased in order of bottlenose dolphins > bluefin tuna > swordfish. Mean PFOS concentrations (61 ng/ g, wet wt) in cormorant livers collected from Sardinia Island in the Mediterranean Sea were less than the concentrations of PFOA (95 ng/g, wetwt). PFOS concentrations in cormorant livers were significantly correlated with those of PFOA. FOSA was found in 14 of 19 livers or blood samples of marine mammals from the Mediterranean Sea. The highest concentration of 878 ng FOSA/g, wet wt, was found in the liver of a common dolphin. Livers of ringed and gray seals from the Bothnian Bay in the Baltic Sea contained PFOS concentrations ranging from 130 to 1,100 ng/g, wet wt. No relationships between PFOS concentrations and ages of ringed or gray seals were observed. Concentrations of PFOS in livers of seals were 5.5-fold greater than those in corresponding blood. A significant positive correlation existed between the PFOS concentrations in liver and blood, which indicates that blood can be used for nonlethal monitoring of PFOS. Trend analysis of PFOS concentrations in livers of white-tailed sea eagles collected from eastern Germany and Poland since 1979 indicated an increase in concentrations during the 1990s. Livers of Atlantic salmons did not contain quantifiable concentrations of any of the fluorochemicals monitored. PFOS is a widespread contaminant in wildlife from the Baltic and the Mediterranean Seas, while FOSA and PFOA were detected only in certain locations indicating their sporadic spatial distribution. /Perfluorooctanesulfonate/
[Kannan K, et al; Environ Sci Technol 36 (15): 3210-6 (2002) ]
Ref: Hazardous Substances Data Bank for PERFLUORO COMPOUNDS, C5-18
CASRN: 86508-42-1. Online as of February 20, 2004.

Abstract excerpt: ... PFOS was the major contaminant detected in most samples and in polar bear liver was the most prominent organohalogen (mean PFOS = 3.1 microg/g wet weight) compared to individual polychlorinated biphenyl congeners, chlordane, or hexachlorocyclohexane-related chemicals in fat. Using two independent mass spectral techniques, it was confirmed that all samples also contained ng/g concentrations of a homologous series of PFCAs, ranging in length from 9 to 15 carbons. Sum concentrations of PFCAs (sum(PFCAs)) were lower than total PFOS equivalents (sum(PFOS)) in all samples except for mink. In mink, perfluorononanoate (PFNA) concentrations exceeded PFOS concentrations, indicating that PFNA and other PFCAs should be considered in future risk assessments. Mammals feeding at higher trophic levels had greater concentrations of PFOS and PFCAs than mammals feeding at lower trophic positions. In general, odd-length PFCAs exceeded the concentration of even-length PFCAs, and concentrations decreased with increasing chain length in mammals. PFOS and PFCA concentrations were much lower for animals living in the Canadian Arctic than for the same species living in mid-latitude regions of the United States. Future studies should continue to monitor all fluorinated contaminants and examine the absolute and relative toxicities for this novel suite of PFCAs.
Ref: Environ Sci Technol. 2004 Jan 15;38(2):373-80. Identification of long-chain perfluorinated acids in biota from the Canadian Arctic; by Martin JW, Smithwick MM, Braune BM, Hoekstra PF, Muir DC, Mabury SA.

Sampling of several wildlife species from a variety of sites across the United States has shown widespread distribution of PFOS. In recent analyses, PFOS was detected in the ppb range in the plasma of several species of eagles, wild birds, and fish. Endogenous levels of PFOS have also been detected in the ppb range in the livers of unexposed rats used in toxicity studies, presumably through a dietary source (fishmeal).
October 18, 2000. Federal Register. Perfluorooctyl Sulfonates. Proposed Significant New Use Rule (SNUR).

In this study, perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS; C8F17SO3-), perfluorooctanesulfonamide (FOSA; C8F17SO2NH2), perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS; C6F13SO3-), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA; C7F15CO2-) were measured in livers of mink and river otters collected from various locations in the United States. PFOS was found in all mink livers analyzed. Frequencies of occurrence of FOSA, PFHxS, and PFOA were less. The greatest concentration of PFOS measured in liver of mink was 5140 ng/g, wet weight. Maximum concentrations of FOSA, PFHxS, and PFOA in mink livers were 590, 39, and 27 ng/g, wet weight, respectively. There were no significant positive relationships between concentrations of PFOS and PFHxS or PFOA in mink livers. Concentrations of PFOS were positively correlated with those of FOSA in mink livers from Illinois. There was no significant correlation between concentrations of PFOS and lipid content in mink livers. There were no age- or sex-related differences in the concentrations of fluorochemicals in mink livers. Greater concentrations are associated with those individuals collected near urbanized and/or industrialized areas. PFOS was detected in livers of all river otters collected from Washington and Oregon at concentrations ranging from 25 to 994 ng/g, wet weight. /Perfluoro compounds/
[Kannan K, et al; Environ Sci Technol 36 (12): 2566-71 (2002)
Ref: Hazardous Substances Data Bank for PERFLUORO COMPOUNDS, C5-18
CASRN: 86508-42-1. Online as of February 20, 2004.

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