Contrasting long term temporal trends in perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in eggs of the northern gannet (Morus bassanus) from two UK colonies

Pereira, M. Gloria; Lacorte, Silvia; Walker, Lee A.; Shore, Richard F.. 2021 Contrasting long term temporal trends in perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in eggs of the northern gannet (Morus bassanus) from two UK colonies. Science of the Total Environment, 754, 141900. 10, pp.

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We compared long-term (1977 to 2014) trends in concentrations of PFAS in eggs of the marine sentinel species, the Northern gannet (Morus bassanus), from the Irish Sea (Ailsa Craig) and the North Sea (Bass Rock). Concentrations of eight perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) and three perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs) were determined and we report the first dataset on PFAS in UK seabirds before and after the PFOS ban. There were no significant differences in ∑PFAS or ∑PFSAs between both colonies. The ∑PFSAs dominated the PFAS profile (>80%); PFOS accounted for the majority of the PFSAs (98–99%). In contrast, ∑PFCAs concentrations were slightly but significantly higher in eggs from Ailsa Craig than in those from Bass Rock. The most abundant PFCAs were perfluorotridecanoate (PFTriDA) and perfluoroundecanoate (PFUnA) which, together with PFOA, comprised around 90% of the ∑PFCAs. The ∑PFSAs and ∑PFCAs had very different temporal trends. ∑PFSAs concentrations in eggs from both colonies increased significantly in the earlier part of the study but later declined significantly, demonstrating the effectiveness of the phasing out of PFOS production in the 2000s. In contrast, ∑PFCAs concentrations in eggs were constant and low in the 1970s and 1980s, suggesting minimal environmental contamination, but residues subsequently increased significantly in both colonies until the end of the study. This increase appeared driven by rises in long chain compounds, namely the odd chain numbered PFTriDA and PFUnA. PFOA, had a very different temporal trend from the other dominant acids, with an earlier rise in concentrations followed by a decline in the last 15 years in Ailsa Craig; later temporal trends in Bass Rock eggs were unclear. Although eggs from both colonies contained relatively low concentrations of PFAS, the majority had PFOS residues that exceeded a suggested Predicted No Effect Concentration and ~ 10% of the eggs exceeded a suggested Lowest-Observable-Adverse-Effect.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: PFAS, gannet eggs, Ailsa Craig, Bass rock, perfluorinated carboxylic acids, perfluorinated sulfonates
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 15 Sep 2020 11:15 +0 (UTC)

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