Warning: Chemical From Pesticides, Non-Stick Cookware Now Found in Birds, Dolphins
From being a component of non-stick cookwares such as teflons to defoamers in pesticides and surfactants, industrial compound perfluoroalkyls and its family are now reaching not just the consumers but the natural ecosystem as well.
A recently published work on the ACS Journal on Environmental Science and Technology highlights the traces of perfluoroalkyl compounds, specifically perfluoroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs) in collected blood samples of birds, dolphins and fish in areas of Northern America. According to their findings, all of the samples had 100 percent detection frequency for PFPIA presence as featured on a press release.
The study utilized collected samples from different years for the analysis. For instance, plasma of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) used were samples from Sarasota Bay, Florida and Charleston Harbor, Southern Carolina obtained in 2004-2009.
Meanwhile, two samples of Northern pike (Esox lucius) from two different locations was collected in 2011 (near Montreal Island, St. Lawrence River, Canada). For the avian species, samples of double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritius) were also obtained from flocks found in the Great Lakes by 2010 to 2012.
Though present on all samples, PFPIA's potentials as a risky compound is still explored. As featured by an article form the University of Florida, it was undeniable that studies on PFPIAs to humans were very limited. Aside from the fact that these chemicals were known to be persistent, its association to risks on humans were not strongly established.
However, previous laboratory experiments tested on animals have associated the increased level of perfluoroalkyl to problems in the developmental, immune and hormonal systems of the subjects. Development of cancer cells on pancreas, liver and reproductive organs were also observed among laboratory animals that were given high levels of similarly related compounds. There were also cases of neurotoxicity, decreased number of live births and hyperactivity on experimented rats with perfluoroalkyls.
Amila De Silva and co-authors of the study pointed out that PFPIA's concentration on the samples were quite low but finding the compound on all of the samples were interesting enough to encourage further exploration on the compound's effects. Since there will come a time that these compounds would accumulate due to its persistence, no one know what can happen after its concentration to the environment elevates.