PFASs in the Nordic environment

Screening of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) and Extractable Organic Fluorine (EOF) in the Nordic Environment

image of PFASs in the Nordic environment

This report describes a screening study of in all ninety-nine conventional and emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in the Nordic environment. In addition, extractable organic fluorine (EOF) was analysed. The latter can provide the amount, but not identity, of organofluorine in the samples, which in turn can be used to assess the mass balance between known and unknown PFASs. The study was initiated by the Nordic Screening Group and funded by these and the Nordic Council of Ministers through the Chemicals Group.A total of 102 samples were analyzed in this study, including bird eggs, fish, marine mammals, terrestrial mammals, surface water, WWTP effluents and sludge, and air. Samples were collected by institutes from the participating countries and self-governing areas; Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.



Discussion and recommendations

The historical use and release of PFASs, resulting in environmental contamination of persistent PFCAs and PFSAs, is still dominating the PFAS class distribution and homologue pattern in this study even though decreasing environmental trends have been reported in recent years (Riget et al., 2013). The PFAS profiles in the biota samples from fish, marine- and terrestrial mammals were dominated by PFCAs and PFSAs. There was a difference between the marine and terrestial environment which has been reported previously (Eriksson et al., 2016, Letcher et al., 2015). The contamination profile for marine fish, bird eggs and mammals was dominated by PFOS but longer chain PFCAs were also present in notable concentrations. In the terrestrial biota, long chain PFCAs can even be observed in higher concentrations compared to PFOS. Higher ratios of odd versus the next shortest even-carbon PFCA homolog could be indicative of atmospheric degradation of precursor compounds and is thus indicative of the importance of longrange transport as source (Armitage et al., 2009).


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