Emerging per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in human milk from Sweden and China

By Raed Awad, Yihui Zhou, Elisabeth Nyberg, Shahla Namazkar, Wu Yongning, Qianfen Xiao, Yaije Sun, Zhiliang Zhu, Åke Bergman, and Jonathan P Benskin
Environ Sci Process Impacts
September 22, 2020
DOI: 10.1039/d0em00077a

Twenty per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were determined in human milk from residents of three Chinese cities (Shanghai, Jiaxing, and Shaoxing; [n = 10 individuals per city]), sampled between 2010 and 2016. These data were compared to a combination of new and previously reported PFAS concentrations in human milk from Stockholm, Sweden, collected in 2016 (n = 10 individuals). Across the three Chinese cities, perfluorooctanoate (PFOA; sum isomers), 9-chlorohexadecafluoro-3-oxanone-1-sulfonic acid (9Cl-PF3ONS; also known as 6:2 Cl-PFESA or by its trade name "F53-B"), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS; sum isomers) occurred at the highest concentrations among all PFAS (up to 411, 976, and 321 pg mL-1, respectively), while in Stockholm, PFOA and PFOS were dominant (up to 89 and 72 pg mL-1, respectively). 3H-Perfluoro-3-[(3-methoxy-propoxy)propanoic acid] (ADONA) was intermittently detected but at concentrations below the method quantification limit (i.e. <10 pg mL-1) in Chinese samples, and was non-detectable in Swedish milk. The extremely high concentrations of F53-B in Chinese milk suggest that human exposure assessments focused only on legacy substances may severely underestimate overall PFAS exposure in breastfeeding infants.

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