Journal: Environment International, vol. 171, 107640, 2022
With the current possible presence of thousands of PFAS compounds in industrial emissions, there is an increasing need to assess the impacts of PFAS regulation of conventional PFAS on one hand and the exposure to emerging and yet unknown PFAS on the other. Today’s analytical methodologies using targeted approaches are not sufficient to determine the complete suite of PFAS present. To evaluate the presence of unknown PFAS, we investigated in this study the occurrence of an extended range of target PFAS in various species from the marine and terrestrial Norwegian environment, in relation to the extractable organic fluorine (EOF), which yields the total amount of organic fluorine. The results showed a varying presence of extractable fluorinated organics, with glaucous gull eggs, otter liver and polar bear plasma showing the highest EOF and a high abundance of PFAS as well. The targeted PFAS measurements explained 1% of the organic fluorine for moose liver as the lowest and 94% for otter liver as the highest. PFCAs like trifluoro acetic acid (TFA, reported semi-quantitatively), played a major role in explaining the organic fluorine present. Emerging PFAS as the perfluoroethylcyclohexane sulfonate (PFECHS), was found in polar bear plasma in quantifiable amounts for the first time, confirming earlier detection in arctic species far removed from emission sources. To enable a complete organic fluorine mass balance in wildlife, new approaches are needed, to uncover the presence of new emerging PFAS as cyclic- or ether PFAS together with chlorinated PFAS as well as fluorinated organic pesticides and pharmaceuticals.