Short-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are increasing in the Canadian Arctic environment, with the most rapid increases occurring post-2000, according to a recent study in Geophysical Research Letters (April 2020). For example, trifluoracetic acid (TFA) in the Devon Ice Cap increased ~10-fold from 1.4 μg/m2 per year during 1977–1989 to 10.3 μg/m2 per year during 2001–2014. The authors of the study suggest that the increased short-chain PFAS concentrations post-2000 were from new chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) replacement chemicals produced as a result of the 1987 Montreal Protocol treaty. One of the paper’s lead authors, Professor Cora Young of York University in Toronto, Ontario, discussed the study findings during the inaugural episode of my new video podcast, “PFAS fireside chats with Craig Butt.
The completion of the human genome project in 2003 opened the door to unprecedented insight into the human body through its DNA code. We now know that our genome encodes our proteins, that our proteins are the molecular machinery of certain functions that take place in our cells and that the end products of these functions are our metabolites.
When Pacific salmon start to die in large numbers, with no identified cause, people take notice. This concern stems not only from the possibility of an environmental issue that could additionally affect human health, but also, in this case, from the cultural and economic importance of Pacific salmon.