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Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids in Wildlife



Jessica L. Reiner, Benjamin J. Place


The first measurements of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in wildlife from the aqueous and terrestrial environment showed their ubiquitous presence. Since the initial studies in 2001 their presence, distribution, and fate in the environment has broadly been studied. PFOS, perfluorooctane sulfonate, is the dominant and most frequently detected PFC in wildlife from around the world. Additionally long-chain (greater than 8 carbons long) perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) have also been measured in biota, with some of the highest concentrations being measured in wildlife from the Arctic. The majority of temporal studies have shown PFOS concentrations increasing over time; however, more recent observations have started showing a decline in PFOS in some wildlife. Long- chain PFCA (greater than 8 carbons) concentrations have shown an increase in recent temporal studies, with PFCA concentrations comparable to those of PFOS measured in the same animals. Many food-web studies have looked at bioaccumulation and biomagnification of PFCs. Most studies have shown biomagnification of PFCs, with PFOS especially having a high biomagnification potential compared to the PFCAs. While much work has been done during the 15 years PFCs have been examined in wildlife, there are still gaps. There has been limited work on wildlife from terrestrial ecosystems. There are also many geographical locations that have very limited studies or lack them altogether. Additional monitoring of the terrestrial environment and the inclusion of new geographical locations are needed to help understand the global distribution of PFCs in wildlife.
Health Effects of Perfluorinated Compounds
Publisher Info
Springer, New York, NY


PFCs, PFOS, PFOA, wildlife


Reiner, J. and Place, B. (2015), Perfluorinated Alkyl Acids in Wildlife, Springer, New York, NY, [online], (Accessed July 20, 2024)


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Created April 21, 2015, Updated January 27, 2020