, Volume 21, Issue 20, pp 11856-11866
Date: 03 Jan 2014

Characterisation of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in a terrestrial ecosystem near a fluorochemical plant in Flanders, Belgium

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Bioaccumulation of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in a restricted terrestrial food chain was investigated with the omnivorous wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus) on top of the studied food chain. The levels detected are very high compared with literature as a result of the presence of fluorochemical plant in the immediate vicinity of the study area. Soil, surface water, fruits of European elder and common blackberry, invertebrates, bank vole and wood mouse were collected at two sites, e.g. Blokkersdijk, adjacent to the fluorochemical plant, and Galgenweel, a reference site 2 km further away. In wood mouse, the highest PFOS concentrations were found in the liver followed by the pancreas, lungs and kidneys, with the spleen having the lowest levels. In the liver, the concentrations ranged from 787 to 22,355 ng/g ww at Blokkersdijk and these were significantly correlated with those detected in the kidneys (13.7–4,226 ng/g ww). If current results are compared to the findings of a previous study conducted in 2002 at the same sites, a significant decrease of PFOS in livers of wood mouse is observed. To the best of our knowledge, so far no studies reported levels of PFOS in terrestrial invertebrates under field conditions. At Blokkersdijk, PFOS was detected in all invertebrate species ranging from 28 to 9,000 ng/g. Soil and water were also contaminated with levels of respectively 68 ng/g and 22 ng/L. Biota-to-soil accumulation factors ranged from 0.11 to 68 for earthworms. Biomagnification factors (BMFs) of liver wood mouse/berries were as high as 302. BMFs for invertebrates were remarkably lower (up to 2).

Responsible editor: Leif Kronberg