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Environmental occurrence of fluorinated alkyl substances from fire fighting foams used on Norwegian oil platforms

Tildelt: kr 2,1 mill.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) has recently got into the focus of environmental chemists and toxicologists, due to it ubiquitous presence in the environment. Until 2003, the largest quantity of PFOS in Norway has been used in aqueous film forming foams (AFFF). AFFF are speciality blends, used for fighting fires of flammable liquids such as petrol or oil. High volumes of AFFF are used in the Norwegian offshore industry and run directly into the sea. After it had been shown that PFOS is persistent and tox ic, the AFFF on oilrigs were replaced in 2003 with a formulation containing the fluorotelomer-based surfactant polyfluoroalkyl betaine (PFAB). The project aims at comparing the environmental concentrations and fate as well as the eco-toxicity potential of PFOS and PFAB. Trace analytical methods will be developed and validated to determine PFAB levels in environmental samples. A screening of water, sediment, polychaetes and fish samples close to oil platforms in the North Sea will reveal the impact of the use of AFFF on environmental concentrations of PFOS, PFAB and related compounds. Degradation and transformation experiments under biotic and abiotic conditions will give information about the persistency of the target compounds as well as identity and fat e of hitherto unknown transformation products. The eco-toxicity will be studied using marine organisms from different trophic levels. Effects on mortality, growth and reproduction will be quantified and tissue levels of PFOS and PFAB analysed. Toxicologic al data on the biochemical and physiological level will be generated and endpoints of sensitive biomarkers will be measured in field organisms.


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