Background contamination of perfluoralkyl substances in a Belgian general population

By Catherine Pirard, Patrice Dufour, and Corinne Charlier
Toxicol. Lett.
July 21, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2020.07.015

The few Belgian studies on the human exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have until now concerned the Northern part of Belgium (Flanders), while data related to Wallonia (South region) are missing. To fill this gap, 8 perfluorinated carboxylic acids and 3 perfluorinated alkyl sulfonates were measured in the serum of 242 adults (>18 years old) recruited in 2015 and living in the Province of Liege. Some multivariate regression models were also built with the PFAS levels and the participant's answers to a questionnaire about their diet and lifestyle habits in order to identify some predictors of exposure. The results obtained showed that although PFAS levels observed in our population seemed to be similar or lower than those reported in other countries, and especially lower than in the Northern part of Belgium, half of the population showed PFOS and PFOA serum levels above the health guidance values set by the German HBM Commission. As expected, age and gender were the main covariates explaining the different PFAS serum levels between participants, while breastfeeding (for women), consumption of fish and seafood, consumption of rice, and use of nail polish seemed also to impact the PFAS body burden of our population. Nevertheless, the statistical models were poorly predictive suggesting that the main sources of exposure were not taken into account.

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