Our Stolen Futurea book by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers


Kannan, K, J Koistinen, K Beckmen, T Evans, JF Gorzelany, KJ Hansen, PD Jones, E Helle, M Nyman and JP Giesy. 2001. Accumulation of perfluorooctane sulfonate in marine mammals. Environmental Science and Technology 35:1593-1598.

some background on PFOS
a corporate coverup on PFOS?
a companion paper on PFOS

Kannan et al. report on contamination levels of PFOS— perfluorooctane sulfonate—in the tissue of marine mammals from around the world. They found PFOS in most samples. Levels ranged up to 1520 nanograms/gram (ppb), with the highest observed in the livers of bottle-nose dolphin from Florida Bay.

Several patterns emerged in their data, although additional study will be needed to because of the eclectic sources of the samples:

  • Animals even in the most remote locations—for example, polar bears from northern Alaska—contained significant PFOS levels. PFOS contamination is everywhere.
  • Remote locations had less contamination than sites near developed and industrialized regions. Thus seals from the Baltic Sea were more contaminated than seals from the Arctic Ocean near Spitzbergen.
  • Near-shore animals had higher concentrations than off-shore animals. This in examining several species of dolphins and porpoises in the region of Florida Bay, the near-shore feeders (bottle-nose dolphins) were more contaminated than off-shore feeders (pygmy sperm whales).
  • Fresh water (inland) had higher contamination. River otters from the Columbia River in Washington State were more contaminated than sea otters from the nearby coast.
  • For the most part, contamination level was not related to age, at least in adults.




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