A baseline study of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in waterfowl from a remote Australian environment

Drew Szabo, Madison R. Nuske, Jennifer L. Lavers, Jeff Shimeta, Mark P. Green, Raoul A. Mulder, Bradley O. Clarke

Elevated concentrations of PFASs in the liver may pose a toxicological risk to bird species and humans that consume them. This study aimed to determine concentrations of 43 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in livers (n = 80) of Australian Shelducks (Tadorna tadornoides), Pacific Black Ducks (Anas superciliosa), and Teals (Anas sp.), as well as water and sediment from a remote Australian environment. Maximum concentrations of PFBA (1.9 ng L−1), PFOA (1.7 ng L−1) and PFOS (0.99 ng L−1) in water were consistent with long-range atmospheric and oceanic transport. PFOS (30%) and PFNA (22%) were the most frequently detected PFASs in Australian Shelduck livers (0.31 ± 0.68 ng g−1 ww and 0.16 ± 0.15 ng g−1 ww respectively). Maximum concentrations of PFOS in Pacific Black Ducks (50%) and Teals (44%) was 2.4 ng g−1 ww and 5.3 ng g−1 ww respectively. While PFAS levels in birds from this remote environment were below current animal consumption guidelines, continued monitoring of this ecosystem is recommended to assess the human health risk of consumption of wild game.