Exposure pathways and bioaccumulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in freshwater aquatic ecosystems: Key considerations


Due to the bioaccumulative behavior, toxicity, and recalcitrance to degradation, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a focus for many researchers investigating freshwater aquatic ecosystems. PFAS are a diverse set of chemicals that accumulate and transport quite differently in the environment depending on the length of their fluoroalkyl chains and their functional groups. This diversity in PFAS chemical characteristics combined with varying environmental factors also impact the bioaccumulation of these compounds in different organisms. In this review, we evaluate environmental factors (such as organic carbon, proteins, lipids, and dissolved cations) as well as PFAS characteristics (head group, chain-length, and concentration) that contribute to the significant variation seen in the literature of bioaccumulation metrics reported for organisms in aquatic ecosystems. Of the factors evaluated, it was found that PFAS concentration, dissolved organic matter, sediment organic matter, and biotransformation of precursor PFAS tended to significantly impact reported bioaccumulation metrics the most. Based on this review, it is highly suggested that future studies provide sufficient details of important environmental factors, specific organism traits/ behavior, and PFAS concentrations/compounds when reporting on bioaccumulation metrics to further fill data gaps and improve our understanding of PFAS in aquatic ecosystems.

Authors: Asa J Lewis, Xiaoyan Yun, Daniel E Spooner, Marie J Kurz, Erica R McKenzie, Christopher M Sales
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2022 Jan 29;822:153561. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153561.