Maternal transfer of perfluoralkyl substances in hooded seals
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 2017, 36 (3), 763-770. 10.1002/etc.3623
The role of milk in the transfer of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to offspring is not well known in wildlife. Eight PFASs were quantified in plasma and milk in mother–pup pairs of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata) during the nursing period, and the role of milk in the transfer process was analyzed. Hooded seal was chosen because of its short lactation period (3–4 d), during which the pup feeds only on milk. Placental or lactation transfer would thus be the only source of PFAS in the pup. Of the 8 PFASs analyzed (Σ8PFAS), 7 were found in all samples; therefore, milk is a source to PFASs in pups. Perfluorooctane sulfonate was the dominant PFAS in all samples. Mean Σ8PFAS concentrations were 6.0 ng/g protein (36 ng/g wet wt) in maternal plasma, 0.77 ng/g protein (3.2 ng/g wet wt) in milk, and 12 ng/g protein (66 ng/g wet wt) in pup plasma. Measured concentrations in plasma were within ranges previously reported from other seal species, below known toxicity thresholds for experimental rodents. Individual PFASs differed in transfer efficiency from mother to pup, depending on carbon chain lengths, with the lowest relative transfer for the intermediate-chained PFASs (C9–C10). The results show maternal transfer of PFASs via both milk and the placenta, of which placental transfer is the dominant pathway. Environ Toxicol Chem 2017;36:763–770.