Perfluoroalkyl Acids in European Starling Eggs Indicate Landfill and Urban Influences in Canadian Terrestrial Environments

Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) were determined in European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) eggs collected between 2009 and 2014 from industrial, rural/agricultural, and landfill locations within five urban centres across Canada. Within each urban centre, perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acid (PFSA) concentrations were generally greater in starling eggs collected from urban/industrial locations and PFSAs and perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs) were generally greater at landfills compared to rural and remote locations. However, the relative importance of urban/industrial versus landfill locations as potential sources was chemical- and location-specific. PFSA concentrations in eggs collected from non-landfills were positively correlated with human population. Despite the 2000 to 2002 phase-out of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and its C8 precursors, leaching from consumer products during use likely continues to be a major source to the environment. In comparison, the concentrations of most PFCAs in eggs were not related to population, which supports the hypothesis that atmospheric transport and degradation of precursor chemicals are influencing their spatial trends. PFAA concentrations in eggs from landfills were not correlated with the quantity of waste received by a given landfill. The variability in PFAAs between landfills may be due to the specific composition of waste items.

Authors: Gewurtz SB, Martin PA, Letcher RJ, Burgess NM, Champoux L, Elliott JE, Idrissi A. ; Full Source: Environmental Science & Technology. 2018 May 15;52(10):5571-5580. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b06623. Epub 2018 Apr 25.

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