Researchers have found evidence of presence of non-stick pan chemicals perfluoroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs) in blood of some dolphins, fish and birds – a finding that highlights the need for minimising release of chemicals through air, water or any other means.
Perfluoroalkyl substances are one of the most commonly used industrial compounds best known for their use in making carpets stain resistant and cookware non-stick. This family of chemicals has been under scrutiny for long for their potential of causing health problems.
Studies on PFPIAs have been limited, but some have detected the compounds in human blood samples. The substances also stick around in the environment for a long time, which makes them likely to be inhaled or ingested by people and animals. This particular subgroup of perfluoralkyl substances was once used in pesticides and continues to be used in other industrial applications such as carpet cleaning.
To find out more about PFPIAs, Amila O. De Silva and colleagues analyzed blood samples from northern pike near the Island of Montreal, cormorants from the Great Lakes and bottlenose dolphins from Sarasota Bay, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina. Although the concentrations were low, the survey detected PFPIAs in 100 percent of the samples. The researchers say this ubiquity underscores the need for further studying the potential effects of these substances.
“On the basis of the presence of PFPIAs in fish and wildlife,” the study authors wrote, “we determined that further research is recommended for determining the effect of these substances.”
The work appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.