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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Feb 15;40(4):1139-43.

Temporal trends of perfluoroalkyl contaminants in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from two locations in the North American Arctic, 1972-2002.

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


Perfluoroalkyl substances are globally distributed anthropogenic contaminants. Their production and use have increased dramatically from the early 1980s. While many recent publications have reported concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and other perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAs) in biotic and abiotic samples, only limited work has addressed temporal trends. In this study we analyzed archived polar bear(Ursus maritimus) livertissue samples from two geographic locations in the North American Arctic, collected from 1972 to 2002. The eastern group, taken from the vicinity of northern Baffin Island, Canada, comprised 31 samples, and the western group, from the vicinity of Barrow, Alaska, comprised 27 samples. Samples were analyzed for perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) from carbon chain length C8 to C15, perfluorohexane sulfonate, PFOS, the neutral precursor perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA), as well as 8:2 and 10:2 fluorotelomer acids and their alpha,beta unsaturated acid counterparts. Concentrations of PFOS and PFCAs with carbon chain lengths from C9 to C11 showed an exponential increase between 1972 and 2002 at both locations. Doubling times ranged from 3.6 +/- 0.9 years for perfluorononanoic acid in the eastern group to 13.1 +/- 4.0 years for PFOS in the western group. PFOSA showed decreasing concentrations over time at both locations, while the remaining PFAs showed no significant trends or were not detected in any sample. The doubling time for PFOS was similar to the doubling time of production of perfluoroctylsulfonyl-fluoride-based products during the 1990s.

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