AN ENVIRONMENTALLY RELEVANT BINARY MIXTURE OF PERFLUOROOCTANESULFONIC ACID AND PERFLUOROHEXANESULFONIC ACID RESULTS IN ANTAGONISM AND REDUCED BODY CONDITION IN NORTHERN LEOPARD FROGS
Perfluoroalkyl substances are synthetic organic chemicals of environmental concern because they have been associated with adverse effects in both human epidemiological studies and standard laboratory animals. In the environment, PFAS occur as mixtures, especially in areas with a history of PFAS application, such as aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) sites. Among the PFAS, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) are the most common, and occur at the highest concentrations. Thus, amphibian populations at or near AFFF sites are at risk of exposure to known bioaccumulative and persistent chemicals, likely compromising the physiology and body condition of the animals. Here, we exposed northern leopard frogs to environmentally relevant concentrations of 0.5 and 1 ppb PFOS and PFHxS, alone or as a mixture comprised of 0.5 ppb PFOS and 0.5 ppb PFHxS. Univariate analyses showed that in the larval stages, tadpoles exposed to PFAS had significantly reduced scaled mass indexes (SMI’s) relative to the control, and only the organisms exposed to PFHxS 0.5 ppb were significantly larger. Sex did not significantly influence toxicity in the later stages (GS 42 & 46), indicating no sex-related effects. Altered body condition (i.e., fat stores) in the larval stages indicate potential effects to energy balance. There is a need to assess fitness-related effects as amphibians’ transition into the terrestrial environment, and include endpoints such as: reproductive, developmental, immunological, mating, feeding, competition, and survival. Early developmental effects in the larval stages also suggests that earlier developmental endpoints may be of interest. Establishing ecological risk assessments for PFAS are necessary, as they are toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative.