Published December 2, 2021 | Version v1
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Transport, Bioaccumulation and Impact of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Birds from South-east Australia

  • 1. University of Melbourne
  • 1. University of Melbourne


This presentation is the culmination of over three years of PhD research into the transport, fate, and impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) to Australian wildlife - particularly birds from the south-east of the country.  The story of PFASs in Australia has a relatively short, but complicated history of emission, regulation, and contamination and remediation throughout the country. The study of avian species presents a unique and important perspective to the story of PFASs, as birds occupy many trophic levels in the environment and can be particularly sensitive to organohalogen compound exposure – making them important sentinels for environmental contamination. Through the application of leading-edge analytical chemistry techniques, the mobility of PFASs in the environment can be mapped to great accuracy and precision. When such incomprehensibly small amounts of PFASs can lead to adverse effects in birds from laboratory and field-based studies, the continued biomonitoring and toxicological research from around the world provides a rich understanding that we can build models of risk and mitigation. Drew will share a few examples of the sources and occurrence of PFASs in the Australian environment, and then how these compounds are transported throughout the food web. Finally, we can use this new information to assess the potential impacts of PFASs to avian wildlife in Australia by comparing it to current toxicological studies and identify gaps in the literature that need to be addressed in the future.

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