Integrated exposure assessment of northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings to legacy and emerging organic pollutants using non-destructive samples
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In the present study, concentrations of legacy and emerging contaminants were determined in three non-destructive matrices (plasma, preen oil and body feathers) of northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) nestlings. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), together with emerging pollutants, including per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs), novel brominated flame retardants (NBFRs), phosphorus flame retardants (PFRs) and Dechlorane Plus isomers (DPs) were targeted. Plasma, preen oil and feather samples were collected from 61 goshawk nestlings in Norway (Trøndelag and Troms) in 2015 and 2016, and pollutant concentrations were compared between the three matrices. In plasma, PFASs were detected in the highest concentrations, ranging between 1.37 and 36.0 ng/mL, which suggests that the nestlings were recently and continuously exposed to these emerging contaminants, likely through dietary input. In preen oil, OCPs (169–3560 ng/g) showed the highest concentrations among the investigated compounds, consistent with their high lipophilicity. PFRs (2.60–314 ng/g) were the dominant compounds in feathers and are thought to originate mainly from external deposition, as they were not detected in the other two matrices. NBFRs and DPs were generally not detected in the nestlings, suggesting low presence of these emerging contaminants in their environment and/or low absorption. Strong and significant correlations between matrices were found for all POPs (rs = 0.46–0.95, p < 0.001), except for hexachlorobenzene (HCB, rs = 0.20, p = 0.13). Correlations for PFASs were less conclusive: linear perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluoroundecanoate (PFUnA), perfluorododecanoate (PFDoA) and perfluorotetradecanoate (PFTeA) showed strong and significant correlations between plasma and feathers (rs = 0.42–0.72, p < 0.02), however no correlation was found for perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorononanoate (PFNA) and perfluorotridecanoate (PFTriA) (rs = 0.05–0.33, p = 0.09–0.85). A lack of consistency between the PFAS compounds (contrary to POPs), and between studies, prevents concluding on the suitability of the investigated matrices for PFAS biomonitoring.