PBMS report shows perfluorinated compounds have increased in gannet eggs

The PBMS has recently published its latest report from work that involved measuring the concentrations of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in the eggs of the northern gannet, Morus bassanus, a sentinel for marine contamination. Eggs were collected from the Ailsa Craig (Irish Sea/eastern Atlantic) and Bass Rock (North Sea) colonies off the UK coast collected between 1977 and 2014 and analysed for a range of PFCs.

Overall temporal trends in PFC concentrations differed for sulfonates and carboxylates. Egg concentrations of sum sulfonated PFCs, overwhelmingly comprised of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), increased up until 1995 but then declined whereas concentrations of sum carboxylated PFCs have increased in a broadly linear fashion since the mid-1980s and appear to be continuing to do so.

Sum sulfonate concentrations in eggs did not differ between colonies but sum carboxylate PFC concentrations, and concentrations of the individual carboxylates, perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA) and perfluorotridecanoic acid (PFTriDA), were significantly higher in eggs from Ailsa Craig than those from Bass Rock over the monitoring period as a whole.

PFC concentrations were lower than those in eggs of other bird species from sites with local PFC sources but similar to concentrations in gull eggs from the Arctic and Iceland.  The mean concentrations of PFOS in gannet eggs from both Ailsa Craig and Bass Rock were between the predicted no effect concentration (PNEC) and lowest observed adverse effect concentration (LOAEL) previously reported for the eggs of other species.

To download the report go to the Recent PBMS Reports page.

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