Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in white whales (Delphinapterus leucas) from Svalbard – A comparison of concentrations in plasma sampled 15 years apart

PFTrDA concentrations in polar bears, Arctic foxes and ringed seals from Svalbard as well as North-Atlantic pilot whales have been reported to increase over time, while the white whales in the present study showed a 30% and 46% decrease in PFTrDA and PFTeDA concentrations, respectively, across the sampling periods, the estimated changes were uncertain due to wide confidence intervals and

Gro D. Villanger; Kit M. Kovacs; Christian Lydersen; Line S. Haug; Azemira Sabaredzovic; Bjørn M. Jenssen; Heli Routti

2020

Scholarcy highlights

  • Perfluoroalkyl substances, in particular perfluoroalkyl sulfonates and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates, are persistent, long-range transported contaminants found in relatively high concentrations in human and wildlife populations worldwide, including in Arctic marine mammals
  • Among the 11 detected perfluoroalkyl substances, perfluorooctane sulfonate had the highest concentrations in white whale plasma from both time periods
  • PFOS concentrations in the recent time period 2013e2014 were close to an order of magnitude lower than what is reported in plasma of polar bears from Svalbard, and about half the concentrations reported for plasma in ringed seals and harbour seals from this area, but in the same range as hooded seal mothers and pups from the West-Ice, East of Greenland, and about ten times higher than in plasma from adult male walruses from Svalbard sampled in 2013e2014
  • PFOA, which is usually the second most dominant PFAS in human blood, was just barely above detection limit in white whales from both time periods. This is in accordance with the low exposure and/or bioaccumulation of this compound reported in Arctic marine food webs
  • Short-chain PFASs were not detected in plasma of white whales from Svalbard
  • PFTrDA concentrations in polar bears, Arctic foxes and ringed seals from Svalbard as well as North-Atlantic pilot whales have been reported to increase over time, while the white whales in the present study showed a 30% and 46% decrease in PFTrDA and PFTeDA concentrations, respectively, across the sampling periods, the estimated changes were uncertain due to wide confidence intervals
  • Many marine mammal studies report lack of relationships between age or sex with perfluoroalkyl substances concentrations; e.g. in ringed seals, harbour seals, polar bears and Arctic foxes, pilot whales, and white whales from the Canadian Arctic

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