Article

Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology

, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 329-337

First online:

Microcosm Evaluation of the Toxicity and Risk to Aquatic Macrophytes from Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid

  • M. L. HansonAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph
  • , P. K. SibleyAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph
  • , R. A. BrainAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph
  • , S. A. MaburyAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, University of Toronto
  • , K. R. SolomonAffiliated withCentre for Toxicology, Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph Email author 

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Abstract

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) is an anthropogenic contaminant detected in various environmental and biologic matrices. This compound is a fluorinated surfactant, a class of molecules renowned for their persistence and their global distribution but for which few ecotoxicological data are currently available, especially under field conditions. The toxicity of PFOS to the aquatic macrophytes Myriophyllum sibiricum and M. spicatum was investigated using 12,000 L outdoor microcosms. Replicate microcosms (n = 3) were treated with 0.3, 3, 10, and 30 mg/L PFOS as the potassium salt and assessed at regular intervals during a period of 42 days. M. sibiricum was more sensitive to PFOS under these simulated field conditions than M. spicatum. Toxicity was observed in the evaluated end points at >3 mg/L PFOS for EC10s and >12 mg/L PFOS for EC50s for M. spicatum and in M. sibiricum at >0.1 mg/L PFOS for EC10s and >1.6 mg/L PFOS for EC50s. The no observed–effect concentration (NOEC) for M. spicatum was consistently ≥11.4 mg/L PFOS, whereas the NOEC for M. sibiricum was ≥0.3 mg/L PFOS. A risk assessment for these plants estimated a negligible probability of toxicity being observed in these plants from PFOS exposure at current environmental concentrations.