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Water Sci Technol. 2009;60(6):1533-44. doi: 10.2166/wst.2009.504.

Contamination, bioaccumulation and toxic effects of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in the water environment: a review paper.

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  • 1Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi Selangor, Malaysia.


Perfluorinated compounds such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) have been recognized as emerging environmental pollutants because of their ubiquitous occurrence in the environment, biota and humans. The paper focuses on the distribution, bioaccumulation and toxic effects of PFOS and PFOA in the water. From the available literature, tap and surface water samples in several countries were found to be contaminated with PFOS and PFOA. These compounds were detected globally in the tissues of fish, bird and marine mammals. Their concentrations from relatively more industrialized areas were greater than those from the less populated and remote locations. Blood samples of occupationally exposed people and the general population in various countries were found to contain PFOS and PFOA which suggested a possibility of atmospheric transport of these compounds. There is still a death of information about the environmental pathways of PFOS and PFOA. The presence of these compounds in the tap water, surface water and animal and human tissues indicates their global contamination and bioaccumulative phenomena in the ecosystems.

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