Estimated daily intake of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances related to different particle size fractions of house dust
By Åsa Gustafsson, Åke Bergman, and Jana M Weiss
June 6, 2022
Indoor environmental pollutants are a threat to human health. In the current study, we analysed 25 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in seven different size fraction of house dust including the two relevant for exposure via ingestion and inhalation. The highest PFAS concentration is found in the inhalable particulate fraction which is explained by the increased surface area as the particulate's sizes decrease. The estimated daily intake (EDI) of the individual PFAS and exposure pathways were calculated for children and adults. In addition, the total EDI for PFOA and its precursors was estimated. The polyfluoroalkyl phosphoric acid diesters (diPAP), followed by PFOA and PFHxAfluortelomer, showed the highest concentrations of PFAS analysed. The cumulative EDI of PFAS for children was 3.0 ng/kg bw per day, a worst-case scenario, which is 17 times higher than the calculated EDI for adults. For children, ingestion of dust was found to result in 800 times higher PFOA exposure than via inhalation. The contribution from PFOA precursors corresponded to only 1% of the EDI from dust indicating PFOA as the main source of exposure. The EDI's of PFOA and PFOS from dust were lower than the calculated EDI's from food ingestion reported by the Swedish Food Agency. Our data indicate that the EDI for the sum of four PFASs: PFOA, PFNA, PFHxS and PFOS from dust intake alone is close to the established tolerable weakly intake of 4.4 ng/kg bw in children, set by European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2020. The combined EDI levels PFOA and PFOS from both dust and food exceeded the EFSA TWI for both children and adults. This study demonstrates that dust is a relevant exposure pathway for PFAS intake and that analysis of relevant particle size fractions is important for evaluation of dust as an exposure pathway.