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Exposure and effects of perfluoroalkyl substances in tree swallows nesting in Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA

July 1, 2013

The exposure and effects of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) were studied at eight locations in Minnesota and Wisconsin between 2007 and 2011 using tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). Concentrations of PFASs were quantified as were reproductive success end points. The sample egg method was used wherein an egg sample is collected, and the hatching success of the remaining eggs in the nest is assessed. The association between PFAS exposure and reproductive success was assessed by site comparisons, logistic regression analysis, and multistate modeling, a technique not previously used in this context. There was a negative association between concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in eggs and hatching success. The concentration at which effects became evident (150–200 ng/g wet weight) was far lower than effect levels found in laboratory feeding trials or egg-injection studies of other avian species. This discrepancy was likely because behavioral effects and other extrinsic factors are not accounted for in these laboratory studies and the possibility that tree swallows are unusually sensitive to PFASs. The results from multistate modeling and simple logistic regression analyses were nearly identical. Multistate modeling provides a better method to examine possible effects of additional covariates and assessment of models using Akaike information criteria analyses. There was a credible association between PFOS concentrations in plasma and eggs, so extrapolation between these two commonly sampled tissues can be performed.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2013
Title Exposure and effects of perfluoroalkyl substances in tree swallows nesting in Minnesota and Wisconsin, USA
DOI 10.1007/s00244-013-9934-0
Authors Christine M. Custer, Thomas W. Custer, Paul Dummer, Matthew A. Etterson, Wayne E. Thogmartin, Qian Wu, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Annette Trowbridge, Patrick C. McKann
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
Series Number
Index ID 70047828
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, Contaminant Biology Program