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SFS Annual Meeting

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LAKE MICHIGAN SPORT FISH AS RECIPIENTS OF PFAS – AN EMERGING CONTAMINANT IN THE GREAT LAKES

The Great Lakes have a long legacy of environmental contamination from human activities. While the sources of many of these historical contaminants have been eliminated (e.g., PCBs, DDT), contaminants of emerging concern threaten the lakes with potentially serious consequences for human and environmental health. Among these are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are organic compounds found in fire retardants, furniture, waterproof clothing, and food packaging. PFAS can enter rivers and streams that flow into the Great Lakes through a variety of pathways (e.g., wastewater effluent, leaching from landfills, surface water runoff) with a high potential for uptake and biomagnification in aquatic food webs. At Notre Dame, we have developed a novel technique using Particle-Induced Gamma-ray Emission (PIGE) spectroscopy to measure total fluorinated compound concentrations. Using PIGE, we have detected and quantified PFAS concentrations in popular Great Lakes sportfish and compared results with sportfish from Alaska. Preliminary results show PFAS concentrations in Great Lakes salmon to be nearly twice as high as salmon from Alaska. This project is among the first to determine PFAS levels in Great Lakes fish, thereby providing valuable information to assist with pollution prevention and amelioration.

Whitney Conard (Primary Presenter/Author), Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, wconard@nd.edu;


Graham Peaslee (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Notre Dame, gpeaslee@nd.edu;


Gary Lamberti (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Notre Dame, glambert@nd.edu;