Long-term study on gannet eggs shows mixed trends in perfluorinated compounds

A long-term (>35 year) study using gannet egg contents gathered through the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) from two colonies off the UK coast has measured concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are chemically and thermally stable due to their chemical structure and, because of their surfactant properties, they provide stain, water and oil resistance.

This study showed that perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) dominated the PFAS profile in eggs from colonies on both Ailsa Craig and Bass Rock. Overtime, the sum perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs) concentrations first rose and then fell and  sum perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs) remained unchanged in early years and then rose. PFOS and perfluooctanoic acid (PFOA) concentrations increased in early years but are now declining, while long-chain odd PFCAs concentrations in eggs are still increasing.

 “This paper demonstrates the value of tissue archives such as the one generated and maintained through the PBMS” comments Lee Walker, a co-author on the paper “We are also grateful to all those collaborators that have collected these samples under licence; without their assistance we would not be able to carry out this type of study”.

The article is open access and can be downloaded from ScienceDirect by clicking the doi link below:

Pereira MG, Lacorte S, Walker LA, Shore RF. (2020). Contrasting long term temporal trends in perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in eggs of the northern gannet (Morus bassanus) from two UK colonies. Science of the Total Environment: article 141900 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141900

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