The present study examined the presence of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) and selected precursors in the Baltic Sea abiotic environment and guillemot food web, and investigated the relative importance of precursors in food web accumulation of PFAAs. Sediment, water, zooplankton, herring, sprat, and guillemot eggs were analyzed for perfluoroalkane sulfonic acids (PFSAs; C4,6,8,10) and perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs; C6-15) along with six perfluoro-octane sulfonic acid (PFOS) precursors and 11 polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid diesters (diPAPs). FOSA, FOSAA and its methyl and ethyl derivatives (Me- and EtFOSAA), and 6:2/6:2 diPAP were detected in sediment and water. While FOSA and the three FOSAAs were detected in all biota, a total of nine diPAPs were only detected in zooplankton. Concentrations of PFOS precursors and diPAPs exceeded PFOS and PFCA concentrations, respectively, in zooplankton, but not in fish and guillemot eggs. Although PFOS precursors were present at all trophic levels, they appear to play a minor role in food web accumulation of PFOS based on PFOS precursor/PFOS ratios and PFOS and FOSA isomer patterns. The PFCA pattern in fish could not be explained by the intake pattern based on PFCAs and analyzed precursors, that is, diPAPs. Exposure to additional precursors might therefore be a dominant exposure pathway compared to direct PFCA exposure for fish.
2016. Vol. 50, no 12