Occurrence, profiles, and ecotoxicity of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances and their alternatives in global apex predators: A critical review

Jianjie Fu , Yu Chen , Jie Fu , Tong Ye , Xiaomin Li , Ke Gao , Qiao Xue , Jungang Lv , Aiqian Zhang


Received January 19, 2021,Revised , Accepted March 22, 2021, Available online May 04, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 219-236

Certain poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) exhibit significant bioaccumulation/biomagnification behaviors in ecosystems. PFASs, such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) and related precursors, have elicited attention from both public and national regulatory agencies, which has resulted in worldwide restrictions on their production and use. Apex predators occupy the top trophic positions in ecosystems and are most affected by the biomagnification behavior of PFASs. Meanwhile, the long lifespans of apex predators also lead to the high body burden of PFASs. The high body burden of PFASs might be linked to adverse health effects and even pose a potential threat to their reproduction. As seen in previous reviews of PFASs, knowledge is lacking between the current stage of the PFAS body burden and related effects in apex predators. This review summarized PFAS occurrence in global apex predators, including information on the geographic distribution, levels, profiles, and tissue distribution, and discussed the trophic transfer and ecotoxicity of PFASs. In the case where legacy PFASs were restricted under international convention, the occurrence of novel PFASs, such as 6:2 chlorinated polyfluorinated ether sulfonate (6:2 Cl-PFESA) and perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulfonate (PFECHS), in apex predators arose as an emerging issue. Future studies should develop an effective analytical method and focus on the toxicity and trophic transfer behavior of novel PFASs.

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