John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

FATE AND EFFECTS OF POLY‐ AND PERFLUOROALKYL SUBSTANCES IN THE AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT – A REVIEW

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Poly‐ and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are distributed ubiquitously in the aquatic environment which raises concern for the flora and fauna in hydrosystems. This critical review focuses on the fate and adverse effects of PFASs in the aquatic environment. PFASs are continuously emitted into the environment from point and nonpoint sources such as sewage treatment plants (STPs) and atmospheric deposition, respectively. Although concentrations of single substances may be too low to cause adverse effects, their mixtures can be of significant environmental concern. The production of C8‐based PFASs (i.e. perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)) is largely phased‐out, however the emissions of other PFASs, in particular short‐chain PFASs and PFAS precursors are increasing. PFAS precursors are finally degraded to persistent degradation products, which are, in particular, perfluoroalkane sulfonates (PFSAs) and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs). PFSAs and PFCAs are subjected to partitioning processes in the environment, whereby short‐chain PFSAs and PFCAs are mainly distributed in the water phase, whereas long‐chain PFSAs and PFCAs tend to bind to particles and have a substantial bioaccumulation potential. However, there are fundamental knowledge gaps about the interactive toxicity of PFAS precursors and their persistent degradation products but also interactions with other natural and anthropogenic stressors. Moreover, due to the continuous emission of PFASs, further information about their ecotoxicological potential among multiple‐generations, species interactions and mixture toxicity seems fundamental to reliably assess the risks for PFASs to affect ecosystem structure and function in the aquatic environment. Environ Toxicol Chem © 2014 SETAC

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