Occurrence of Perfluoroalkyl Surfactants in Water, Fish, and Birds from New York State

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Abstract

Concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and several other perfluoroalkyl surfactants (PASs) were determined in nine major water bodies (n = 51) of New York State (NYS). These PASs were also measured in the livers of two species of sport fish (n = 66) from 20 inland lakes in NYS. Finally, perfluorinated compounds were measured in the livers of 10 species of waterfowl (n = 87) from the Niagara River region in NYS. PFOS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHS) were ubiquitous in NYS waters. PFOA was typically found at higher concentrations than were PFOS and PFHS. Elevated concentrations of PFOS were found in surface waters of Lake Onondaga, and elevated concentrations of PFOA were found in the Hudson River. PFOS was the most abundant perfluorinated compound in all fish and bird samples. PFOS concentrations in the livers of fishes ranged from 9 to 315 ng/g wet weight. PFOS, PFOA, and PFOSA (perfluorooctanesulfonamide) concentrations in smallmouth and largemouth bass (taken together) caught in remote mountain lakes with no known point sources of PAS contamination were 14 to 207, < 1.5 to 6.1, and < 1.5 to 9.8 ng/g wet weight, respectively. PFOS concentrations in the livers of birds ranged from 11 to 882 ng/g wet weight. PFOS concentrations were 2.5-fold greater (p = 0.001) in piscivorous birds than in non-piscivorous birds. However, PFOA, PFOSA, and PFHS were not found in bird livers. Overall, average concentrations of PFOS in fish were 8850-fold greater than those in surface water. An average biomagnification factor of 8.9 was estimated for PFOS in common merganser relative to that in fish. This study highlights the significance of dietary fish in PFOS accumulation in the food chain. Furthermore, our results provide information on the distribution of PASs in natural waters, fish, and several bird species in NYS.