Perfluorinated Compounds: Persistent, Pesky Pollutants Presence in Arctic Environment and Wildlife, Leading to Presence in Human Blood Serum

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PERFLUORINATED COMPOUNDS:
PERSISTENT, PESKY POLLUTANTS PRESENCE IN ARCTIC ENVIRONMENT AND WILDLIFE, LEADING TO PRESENCE IN HUMAN BLOOD SERUM J. Horton CHEM 422- Environmental Chemistry 4th of May, 2012

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I N TR O D U CTI O N
Perflurorinated compounds (PFCs) are heterogeneous organic compounds that have a partially or fully fluorinated alkyl chain, which can range from four to fourteen carbons and can have other functional organic groups attached. PFCs are mostly the products of industrial applications, and are transported globally via the ocean and the atmosphere. These perfluorinated compounds accumulate in the largest concentrations in arctic regions. Due to the nature of the structure of perfluorinated carbons, they are very persistent, and they tend to bioaccumulate and biomagnify through the food chain. Because of this, the existence of PFCs in the environment has become a great concern. due to their persistent nature and their tendency to bioaccumulate and biomagnify through the food chain. PFCs have been detected in the blood serum of mammals, birds, and fish, as well as in humans. Perfluorinated compounds are a general class of compounds, which include perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids, perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids, perfluoroalkyl sulfonamides, and fluorotelomer alcohols. These compounds are comparable to legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs), which include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), brominated flame-retardants, and some organometallic compounds (Butt et al., 2010).

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comparable to POPs due to their long half-lives, their persistence, their tendency to bioaccumulate, and their ability produce toxic effects. However, the mechanism of bioaccumulation for PFCs is different from that of POPs. POPs tend to bind to lipids, whereas PFCs bind to blood serum, which leads to buildup in the liver, kidneys, and bile secretions (Butt et al., 2010). This report will cover some of the studies of the environment, animals, and humans tested for PFCs, the sources of PFCs, the PFCs of greatest concern, and the transport mechanisms to the arctic regions of these compounds. This report will also include a brief review of an experiment involving PFC sources in humans.

B AC KGR O U N D
There have been various studies regarding the presence of perfluorinated compounds in the arctic air, arctic snow, and biota in the arctic environment. The studies that generally cover the presence of PFCs in the arctic environment focus on degradation of precursors that lead to the formation of PFCs and on transport mechanisms of PCBs to remote areas like the arctic. The theories of degradation and transport will be discussed in detail under the heading CHEMISTRY. The review paper entitled “Levels and trends of poly- and perfluorinated compounds in the arctic environment” summarizes some abiotic and biotic measurements of perfluorinated compound species (Butt et al., 2010). The abiotic measurements include samples of atmospheric air, snow, lake water and sediments, and seawater and marine sediments, which contained varying amounts of different perfluorinated alkyl species. The biotic samples include analyses of marine ecosystems, freshwater ecosystems, terrestrial ecosystems, and of overall food web trends. Each of the systems sampled showed varying concentrations of specific perfluorinated compounds.

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There have also been studies regarding the presence of PFCs in humans living in both arctic and urban areas. The results of these studies show that humans living in both arctic and urban areas have varying amounts of various perfluorinated species in their blood serum. Some of the factors influencing blood serum concentration of certain perfluorinated compounds are living environment, occupational exposure, and diet. It is speculated that a major source of blood serum concentration of PFCs is due to diet due to their bioaccumulating properties. According to a few different studies, it is proposed that fish...
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