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Environ Sci Technol. 2005 Aug 1;39(15):5517-23.

Circumpolar study of perfluoroalkyl contaminants in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

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Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Bovey Building, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


Perfluoroalkyl substances were determined in liver tissues and blood of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from five locations in the North American Arctic and two locations in the European Arctic. Concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonate, heptadecafluorooctane sulfonamide, and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates with C(8)-C(15) perfluorinated carbon chains were determined using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. PFOS concentrations were significantly correlated with age at four of seven sampling locations, while gender was not correlated to concentration for any compound measured. Populations in South Hudson Bay (2000-2730 ng/g wet wt), East Greenland (911-2140 ng/g wet wt), and Svalbard (756-1290 ng/g wet wt) had significantly (P < 0.05) higher PFOS concentrations than western populations such as the Chukchi Sea (435-729 ng/g wet wt). Concentrations of perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) with adjacent chain lengths (i.e., C9:C10 and C10:C11) were significantly correlated (P < 0.05), suggesting PFCAs have a common source within a location, but there were differences in proportions of PFCAs between eastern and western location sources. Concentrations of PFOS in liver tissue at five locations were correlated with concentrations of four polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (180, 153, 138, and 99) in adipose tissue of bears in the same populations, suggesting similar transport pathways and source regions of PFOS or precursors.

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