Occurrence of perfluoroalkyl compounds in surface waters from the North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean


Perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) were determined in 22 surface water samples (39−76°N) and three sea ice core and snow samples (77−87°N) collected from North Pacific to the Arctic Ocean during the 4th Chinese Arctic Expedition in 2010. Geographically, the average concentration of ∑PFC in surface water samples were 560 ± 170 pg L-1 for the Northwest Pacific Ocean, 500 ± 170 pg L-1 for the Arctic Ocean, and 340 ± 130 pg L-1 for the Bering Sea, respectively. The perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs) were the dominant PFC class in the water samples, however, the spatial pattern of PFCs varied. The C5, C7 and C8 PFCAs (i.e., perfluoropentanoate (PFPA), perfluoroheptanoate (PFHpA), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)) were the dominant PFCs in the Northwest Pacific Ocean while in the Bering Sea the PFPA dominated. The changing in the pattern and concentrations in Pacific Ocean indicate that the PFCs in surface water were influenced by sources from the East-Asian (such as Japan and China) and North American coast, and dilution effect during their transport to the Arctic. The presence of PFCs in the snow and ice core samples indicates an atmospheric deposition of PFCs in the Arctic. The elevated PFC concentration in the Arctic Ocean shows that the ice melting had an impact on the PFC levels and distribution. In addition, the C4 and C5 PFCAs (i.e., perfluorobutanoate (PFBA), PFPA) became the dominant PFCs in the Arctic Ocean indicating that PFBA is a marker for sea ice melting as the source of exposure.
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