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

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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.

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The authors wish to thank Jefferey Loukmas, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, for providing fish samples and information regarding fish. We thank Erik Latremore and Dustin Edwards for collecting fish and processing tissues and Larry Skinner and Howard Simonin (all with NYSDEC) for assistance with the fish collections. Fish samples were collected as part of a New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) grant. Funding for the collection of waterfowl and dietary analysis was provided under Federal Aid for the Restoration of Wildlife to New York State, Project WE-173-G. We thank T. Martin, assisted by J. Curtiss, T. Forti, C. Brown, M. Kandel, J. Rogers and D. Seyler in the field and G. Kimber, M. Levendusky and C. Dean in the laboratory, for collection and processing of waterfowl during 1994-1996. We thank A. Bathrick, K. Hellijas, and K. Geesler for the processing of waterfowl collected during 1999/2000; M. A. Ellis for diet analysis; and S. Fonda, N. Wright, B. Bidwell, and S. Reese for data management. We thank all waterfowl hunters who donated birds, and J. Daniels, who volunteered to solicit birds from hunters and to maintain duck traps for the study.

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Correspondence to Kurunthachalam Kannan.

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Sinclair, E., Mayack, D.T., Roblee, K. et al. Occurrence of Perfluoroalkyl Surfactants in Water, Fish, and Birds from New York State. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 50, 398–410 (2006).

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