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|Per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): Anglers may be exposed to harmful chemicals in their catch
|Presenting Author Name
|Presenting Author Affiliation
|Wildlife Conservation Society
|Presenting Author Email
|Avoiding a Diet of Weak Poison: Highlighting aquatic contamination research, monitoring, prevention, and advocacy efforts in a changing Northern landscape
|Fish contaminants, angler exposure
In this review, we focus on per‐ and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), synthetic compounds used for a variety of applications, including firefighting foam and manufacturing. Recently, researchers have linked human exposure to PFAS to negative health effects. Hundreds of communities are affected by PFAS contamination, which has raised awareness about the toxicity of these chemicals. Most work has focused on characterizing dangers to humans, and the effects of PFAS on the environment are under‐studied. PFAS contamination of surface water can result in bioaccumulation and biomagnification in fishes. Studies have linked PFAS to lower fitness in fishes, and anglers who consume wild fish can have higher exposure to PFAS compared to the general population. These chemicals remain largely unregulated and the public has been unaware of the extent of contamination and their risk to human health until recently. As a case study, we review known PFAS contamination of wild‐caught fish, and possible health risk through angler exposure in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska. Multiple sources of PFAS contamination in the area have created groundwater plumes that have entered surface water bodies and impacted wild and stocked fishes. Several of the potentially affected fish species, particularly burbot (Lota lota) and northern pike (Esox lucius), are commonly harvested and consumed by anglers. The conclusions and recommendations from the Fairbanks North Star Borough case study can be applied to and are useful for PFAS‐contaminated communities globally.