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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Jun 1;40(11):3463-73.

Biological monitoring of polyfluoroalkyl substances: A review.

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


Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFSs) are used in industrial and commercial products and can degrade to persistent perfluorocarboxylates (PFCAs) and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates (PFSAs). Temporal trend studies using human, fish, bird, and marine mammal samples indicate that exposure to PFSs has increased significantly over the past 15-25 years. This review summarizes the biological monitoring of PFCAs, PFSAs, and related PFSs in wildlife and humans, compares concentrations and contamination profiles among species and locations, evaluatesthe bioaccumulation/biomagnification in the environment, discusses possible sources, and identifies knowledge gaps. PFSs can reach elevated concentrations in humans and wildlife inhabiting industrialized areas of North America, Europe, and Asia (2-30,000 ng/ mL or ng/g of wet weight (ww)). PFSs have also been detected in organisms from the Arctic and mid-ocean islands (< or = 3000 ng/g ww). In humans, PFSAs and PFCAs have been shown to vary among ethnic groups and PFCA/PFSA profiles differ from those in wildlife with high proportions of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate. The pattern of contamination in wildlife varied among species and locations suggesting multiple emission sources. Food web analyses have shown that PFCAs and PFSAs can bioaccumulate and biomagnify in marine and freshwater ecosystems. Knowledge gaps with respect to the transport, accumulation, biodegradation, temporal/spatial trends and PFS precursors have been identified. Continuous monitoring with key sentinel species and standardization of analytical methods are recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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