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Arthropods and PFAS: How Forever Chemicals Impact our Ecosystems

Arthropods and PFAS: How Forever Chemicals Impact our Ecosystems

Trisha R. Dubie

Human life is sustained in part by complex relationships with other organisms in our ecosystems, from other vertebrate animals down to invertebrates and microbes in our water and soil. Since their inception more than seven decades ago, PFAS contamination in the world’s waters and soils has grown exponentially and impacted our ecosystems in such a way that the concerns cannot be overstated. Arthropods serve as model species for many areas of scientific research. Wildlife has long been utilized as sentinels for environmental pollution, and arthropod species better suited for these purposes, such as ticks, are being explored for PFAS monitoring (Aristizabal-Henao et al., 2021). Though useful to our endeavors to better understand environmental pollutants, arthropods can also be adversely impacted directly by PFAS contamination leading to detrimental effects on ecosystems overall.

The adverse health effects linked to PFAS, including but not limited to disruption of immune, metabolic, and endocrine systems, testicular cancer, and childhood leukemia, are becoming more widely recognized (Jones, et al., 2023, Teymourian, et al., 2021). Research focused on the impacts of PFAS on arthropods and other invertebrates is limited and warrants increased focus. Significant bioaccumulation through riparian food webs was shown by Koch et al. (2020), and a review by Ma et al. (2022), showed significant toxic and lethal effects on aquatic invertebrates and microorganisms in PFAS contaminated environments.

Our natural resources and the ecosystem services provided by the organisms within them have direct impacts on humanity. Research continues to reveal the diverse, substantial negative effects of PFAS pollution. It is important to not only prevent the continued contamination of our resources but to direct more attention to permanent PFAS destruction.

 

 

Aristizabal-Henao et al., 2021 DOI: 10.1039/d1em00209k

Jones et al., 2023 DOI: 10.1093/jnci/djad261

Koch et al., 2020 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.0c01640?ref=pdf

Ma et al., 2022 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph192416729

Teymourian et al., 2021 DOI: 10.1007/s11164-021-04603-7