Analysis of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in processed foods from FDA's Total Diet Study

By Susan Genualdi, Jessica Beekman, Katherine Carlos, Christine M Fisher, Wendy Young, Lowri DeJager, and Timothy Begley
Anal Bioanal Chem
August 31, 2021
DOI: 10.1007/s00216-021-03610-2

Additional occurrence data are needed to better understand human exposure to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from commercially available foods in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Total Diet Study (TDS) collects foods that are both nationally and regionally distributed. In 2018, 172 processed foods were collected from grocery stores around Lenexa, KS, as part of the TDS national collection. A previously developed method for the analysis of PFAS in foods as part of the TDS regional collection was modified and optimized for these samples. This method was single lab validated using 5 different matrices and method detection limits were calculated. During the analysis of these samples, challenges arose with method blanks and further investigation into statistical methods to distinguish between blank and sample concentrations were done. The confirmation of two short chain PFAS, perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) and perfluoropentanoic acid (PFPeA), was not possible using triple quadrupole mass spectrometry and a confirmation method was developed using high-resolution mass spectrometry. This technique was also used to investigate potential detections and interferents that fell within the retention time criteria for positive detections. In the national collection, positive detections of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were found in frozen fish sticks/patties, PFOS and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) in canned tuna, and PFOS in protein powder. Concentrations were all below 150 ppt, and no other detects were confirmed above the method detection limits in any other foods.

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